Citigroup profit beats on investment banking boost

Citigroup profit beats on investment banking boost

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc reported higher-than-expected earnings on Monday despite declining revenue as the New York-based lender cut costs, grew investment-banking revenues and expanded net-interest margins. FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Oct. 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File PhotoStill, Citi improved its…


(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc reported higher-than-expected earnings on Monday despite declining revenue as the New York-based lender cut costs, grew investment-banking revenues and expanded net-interest margins.

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Oct. 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Still, Citi improved its results in ways, including the expense cutting, that may be tough to replicate in future quarters. A lower tax rate also played a big role in Citi’s improvement from a year ago.

The bank’s income from continuing operations actually declined slightly. But net income rose because its effective tax rate declined to 21 percent from 24 percent a year earlier.

Citi has been investing in digital capability to try to win deposits domestically despite its light U.S. branch network. Chief Executive Mike Corbat said in a statement its efforts are showing positive early results.

But the bank is still growing deposits faster abroad than in the United States: international consumer deposits rose 3 percent during the quarter, while retail North American deposits edged up 1 percent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co on Friday reported that its U.S. consumer deposits were up 3 percent from a year earlier.

Corbat also pointed to the bank’s improved 11.9-percent return on average tangible common shareholder’s equity and the fact that it returned $5.1 billion in capital to shareholders during the quarter.

“Both our consumer and institutional businesses performed well and we saw good momentum in those areas where we have been investing,” he said.

Investment banking revenue rose 20 percent to $1.4 billion, as strong growth in advisory and investment-grade debt underwriting more than offset a drop in equity underwriting.

Bond trading rose 1 percent in sharp contrast to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, both of which reported declines.

But a 24-percent drop in equities trading pressured Citi’s overall revenue, which fell 2 percent to $18.58 billion, slightly below analysts’ estimates.

Revenue from consumer banking, the bank’s largest business, was flat at $8.5 billion, due to weakness in Asia.

Earlier this year, the bank said it would earn $2 billion more in revenue from lending activities than it did in 2018.

Total loans at the third-largest U.S. bank by assets rose 3 percent to $682.3 billion, while deposits grew 5 percent to $1.03 trillion, excluding foreign exchange fluctuations.

Citi’s net interest margin, a closely watched metric, expanded 8 basis points to 2.72 percent in the quarter, while total operating expenses fell 3 percent to $10.58 billion

FILE PHOTO: Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup gestures during a panel discussion at the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich, Switzerland January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd WIegmann/File Photo

Net income rose to $4.71 billion, or $1.87 per share, for the first quarter ended March 31 from $4.62 billion, or $1.68 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were looking for a profit of $1.80 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Shares of the company were up 1.2 percent in trading before the bell.

Reporting by Imani Moise in New York and Sidharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Nick Zieminski

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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