Citigroup To Cut 11,000 Jobs, Take $1 Billion In Charges

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Citigroup Inc.  Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat, who took over the bank in October, is cutting more than 11,000 jobs, scaling back operations in some emerging markets and will take a $1 billion charge this quarter in a effort to drive down costs.

The institutional-clients group, which includes trading, investment banking and transaction services, will cut about 1,900 jobs, New York-based Citigroup said today in a statement. That move seeks to “improve overall productivity in our markets business, especially in areas experiencing continued low profitability, such as cash equities,” the bank said.

Corbat, 52, is adding to a January cost-cutting announcement by predecessor Vikram Pandit, who had previously sought to boost some of the businesses targeted today. The new CEO is responding to an industrywide slump in trading and investment banking, stiffer capital requirements and Europe’s debt crisis. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and UBS AG are among rivals focused on reducing costs.

Global Banking Under Siege as Nations Guard Interests

“These actions are logical next steps in Citi’s transformation,” Corbat said in the statement. “While we are committed to — and our strategy continues to leverage — our unparalleled global network and footprint, we have identified areas and products where our scale does not provide for meaningful returns.”

Savings Projection

The latest eliminations amount to about 4.2 percent of Citigroup’s workforce of 262,000 people at the end of September. The largest share of reductions, about 6,200 jobs, will come from the global consumer-banking business, Citigroup said. The lender expects to sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay.

An additional 2,600 jobs will be cut in the operations and technology group and global functions. Citi Holdings, the unit disposing of unwanted assets, will eliminate about 350 positions.

The plan will save about $900 million in 2013, and projected annual savings will exceed $1.1 billion beginning in 2014, the company said. Annual revenue will drop about $300 million, according to the forecast. The $1 billion charge this quarter is before taxes. An additional $100 million of related charges will come in the first half of next year.

The bank had invested $3.9 billion last year in all of its businesses, including initiatives to meet regulatory requirements, modernize branches and boost spending on consumer marketing, Pandit said during a Jan. 17 conference call with analysts and investors.

Shrinking Bonuses

“We also upgraded talent in both our institutional and consumer businesses,” Pandit, 55, said then. The securities unit, which includes trading and investment banking, accounted for “a little less than $1 billion” of the investments, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach later said.

Citigroup also plans to shrink that division’s bonuses for this year by as much as 10 percent, two people with direct knowledge of the decisions said last week.

Cost-cutting by investment banks needs to be severe to deal with the impact of the new capital rules, Sanford C. Bernstein analysts said last month. Firms must slash pay and headcount and get rid of almost a third of their trading-business assets to earn even half the returns they once made, while replacing some traders with computers, the analysts wrote.

Source: Bloomberg

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