Mar 17, 2009
For this week’s Monday’s Market Movers entry, let’s take a look at the profits Citi Financial is currently reporting. As of this past Friday, March 13, the Dow and the S&P 500 stock indexes rose for a fourth straight day. This rise in the stock market came shortly after Citigroup announced that it did not need any more governmental aid. Wait a second-let’s digest this information. So this means that following President Obama’s massive bailout plan, which aimed to ultimately restore stability to the banking industry-Citigroup is actually reporting a profit? Following a global financial crisis, Citigroup actually has good news to report? Let’s take a look at how Citigroup is managing to slowly climb back to the top-and what this good news ultimately means for you, the consumer.
Apparently 2009 is not looking so bleak for Citigroup. Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit sent a letter to employees, reporting that the company is having its best quarter since the last time it reported profits, during the summer of 2007. During January and February of 2009, Citigroup’s operating revenue was $19 billion, $2 billion less than the 2008 full-quarter average. As mentioned above, the stock market displayed a clear reaction to this surprisingly uplifting memo, raising Citigroup shares 38 percent.
So how is this possible amidst a financial crisis? Well, the memo that Pandit sent to employees communicated that Citi’s deposits were “relatively stable.” Pandit also reported that the company has conducted its own “stress test”, based on tougher criteria than what the federal government is currently using to test the nation’s 19 largest financial institutions; he concluded that he is “confident about our capital strength….client businesses are strong, our deposits are relatively stable, our client-driven securities and Banking businesses have been performing well…and we continue to provide credit to consumer and corporate customers.” Pandit further displayed his commitment to getting Citigroup back on top by agreeing to a $1 annual salary until Citi becomes profitable again.
Furthermore, on December 1, Citigroup cut all sources of online, unsecured loan applications. This means that Citigroup has basically stopped collecting these loan applications from all websites except their own. The number of Citi credit cards, featured on websites like credit.com, dropped from a high of 19 total cards to only 3 currently. For consumers like you, this means that you can easily get access to credit through Citi.
So things, for the moment, are looking up for Citigroup. As a result, things are looking up for consumers when it comes to getting access to credit. Despite the good news, Citigroup is pushing the need for Americans to save by making smart financial decisions. In order for both banks and individuals to climb their way out of this financial crisis, we need to change our spending habits.
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