Citigroup Inc. is an American multinational financial services company based in New York City. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group on April 7, 1998.
Citigroup Inc. has the world's largest financial services network, spanning 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices worldwide. The company employs approximately 260,000 staff around the world, and holds over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries. It is a primary dealer in US Treasury securities.
Citigroup suffered huge losses during the global financial crisis of 2008 and was rescued in November 2008 in a massive stimulus package by the U.S. government. Its largest shareholders include funds from the Middle East and Singapore. On February 27, 2009, Citigroup announced that the United States government would take a 36% equity stake in the company by converting $25 billion in emergency aid into common shares; the stake was reduced to 27% after Citigroup sold $21 billion of common shares and equity in the largest single share sale in US history, surpassing Bank of America's $19 billion share sale one month prior.
Citigroup is one of the Big Four banks in the United States, along with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Citigroup was formed on October 9, 1998, following the $140 billion merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group to create the world's largest financial services organization. The history of the company is, thus, divided into the workings of several firms that over time amalgamated into Citicorp, a multinational banking corporation operating in more than 100 countries; or Travelers Group, whose businesses covered credit services, consumer finance, brokerage, and insurance. As such, the company history dates back to the founding of: the City Bank of New York (later Citibank) in 1812; Bank Handlowy in 1870; Smith Barney in 1873, Banamex in 1884; Salomon Brothers in 1910.
The history begins with the City Bank of New York, which was chartered by New York State on June 16, 1812, with $2 million of capital. Serving a group of New York merchants, the bank opened for business on September 14 of that year, and Samuel Osgood was elected as the first President of the company. The company's name was changed to The National City Bank of New York in 1865 after it joined the new U.S. national banking system, and it became the largest American bank by 1895. It became the first contributor to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1913, and the following year it inaugurated the first overseas branch of a U.S. bank in Buenos Aires, although the bank had, since the mid-nineteenth century, been active in plantation economies, such as the Cuban sugar industry. The 1918 purchase of U.S. overseas bank International Banking Corporation helped it become the first American bank to surpass $1 billion in assets, and it became the largest commercial bank in the world in 1929. As it grew, the bank became a leading innovator in financial services, becoming the first major U.S. bank to offer compound interest on savings (1921); unsecured personal loans (1928); customer checking accounts (1936) and the negotiable certificate of deposit (1961).
The bank changed its name to The First National City Bank of New York in 1955, which was shortened in 1962 to First National City Bank on the 150th anniversary of the company's foundation. The company organically entered the leasing and credit card sectors, and its introduction of USD certificates of deposit in London marked the first new negotiable instrument in market since 1888. Later to become MasterCard, the bank introduced its First National City Charge Service credit card – popularly known as the "Everything card" – in 1967.
In 1976, under the leadership of CEO Walter B. Wriston, First National City Bank (and its holding company First National City Corporation) was renamed as Citibank, N.A. (and Citicorp, respectively). Shortly afterward, the bank launched the Citicard, which pioneered the use of 24-hour ATMs. As the bank's expansion continued, the Narre Warren-Caroline Springs credit card company was purchased in 1981. John S. Reed was elected CEO in 1984, and Citi became a founding member of the CHAPS clearing house in London. Under his leadership, the next 14 years would see Citibank become the largest bank in the United States, the largest issuer of credit cards and charge cards in the world, and expand its global reach to over 90 countries.
On April 6, 1998, the merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group was announced to the world, creating a $140 billion firm with assets of almost $700 billion. The deal would enable Travelers to market mutual funds and insurance to Citicorp's retail customers while giving the banking divisions access to an expanded client base of investors and insurance buyers.
Although presented as a merger, the deal was actually more like a stock swap, with Travelers Group purchasing the entirety of Citicorp shares for $70 billion, and issuing 2.5 new Citigroup shares for each Citicorp share. Through this mechanism, existing shareholders of each company owned about half of the new firm. While the new company maintained Citicorp's "Citi" brand in its name, it adopted Travelers' distinctive "red umbrella" as the new corporate logo, which was used until 2007.
The chairmen of both parent companies, John Reed and Sandy Weill respectively, were announced as co-chairmen and co-CEOs of the new company, Citigroup, Inc., although the vast difference in management styles between the two immediately presented question marks over the wisdom of such a setup.
The remaining provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act – enacted following the Great Depression – forbade banks to merge with insurance underwriters, and meant Citigroup had between two and five years to divest any prohibited assets. However, Weill stated at the time of the merger that they believed "that over that time the legislation will change...we have had enough discussions to believe this will not be a problem". Indeed, the passing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in November 1999 vindicated Reed and Weill's views, opening the door to financial services conglomerates offering a mix of commercial banking, investment banking, insurance underwriting and brokerage.
Joe Plumeri headed the integration of the consumer businesses of Travelers Group and Citicorp after the merger, and was appointed CEO of Citibank North America by Weill and Reed. He oversaw its network of 450 retail branches. J. Paul Newsome, an analyst with CIBC Oppenheimer, said: "He's not the spit-and-polish executive many people expected. He's rough on the edges. But Citibank knows the bank as an institution is in trouble-it can't get away anymore with passive selling-and Plumeri has all the passion to throw a glass of cold water on the bank." It was conjectured that he might become a leading contender to run all of Citigroup when Weill and Reed stepped down, if he were to effect a big, noticeable victory at Citibank. In that position, Plumeri boosted the unit's earnings from $108 million to $415 million in one year, an increase of nearly 400%. He unexpectedly retired from Citibank, however, in January 2000.
In 2000, Citigroup acquired Associates First Capital Corporation, which, until 1989, had been owned by Gulf+Western (now part of National Amusements). The Associates was widely criticized for predatory lending practices and Citi eventually settled with the Federal Trade Commission by agreeing to pay $240 million to customers who had been victims of a variety of predatory practices, including "flipping" mortgages, "packing" mortgages with optional credit insurance, and deceptive marketing practices.
Over the past several decades, the United States government has engineered at least four different rescues of the institution now known as Citigroup. During the most recent tax-payer funded rescue, by November 2008, Citigroup was insolvent, despite its receipt of $25 billion in federal TARP bailout money, and on November 17, 2008, Citigroup announced plans for about 52,000 new job cuts, on top of 23,000 cuts already made during 2008 in a huge job cull resulting from four quarters of consecutive losses and reports that it was unlikely to be in profit again before 2010. Many senior executives were fired but Wall Street responded by dropping its stock market value to $6 billion, down from $300 billion two years prior. As a result, Citigroup and Federal regulators negotiated a plan to stabilize the company and forestall a further deterioration in the company's value. The arrangement calls for the government to back about $306 billion in loans and securities and directly invest about $20 billion in the company. The assets remain on Citigroup's balance sheet; the technical term for this arrangement is ring fencing. In a New York Times op-ed, Michael Lewis And David Einhorn described the $306 billion guarantee as "an undisguised gift" without any real crisis motivating it. The plan was approved late in the evening on November 23, 2008. A joint statement by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp announced: "With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy."
Citigroup in late 2008 held $20 billion of mortgage-linked securities, most of which have been marked down to between 21 cents and 41 cents on the dollar, and has billions of dollars of buyout and corporate loans. It faces potential massive losses on auto, mortgage and credit card loans if the economy worsens. [This paragraph requires a reference, particularly to the $20 billion figure quoted above. It is likely that this number is a severe underestimate of the value of CDO holdings held in off-balance sheet SIVs.]
On January 16, 2009, Citigroup announced its intention to reorganize itself into two operating units: Citicorp for its retail and investment banking business, and Citi Holdings for its brokerage and asset management. Citigroup will continue to operate as a single company for the time being, but Citi Holdings managers will be tasked to "tak[e] advantage of value-enhancing disposition and combination opportunities as they emerge", and eventual spin-offs or mergers involving either operating unit have not been ruled out. On February 27, 2009 Citigroup announced that the United States government would be taking a 36% equity stake in the company by converting $25 billion in emergency aid into common shares. Citigroup shares dropped 40% on the news.
On June 1, 2009, it was announced that Citigroup Inc. would be removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average effective June 8, 2009, due to significant government ownership. Citigroup Inc. was replaced by Travelers Co.
Securities and Banking
- Investment banking
- Debt and equity markets (including prime brokerage)
- Private equity
- Hedge funds
- Real estate
- Structured products
- Private Bank
- Equity and Fixed Income research
- Cash management
- Trade services
- Custody and fund services
- Clearing services
This division of Citigroup generated 12 billion in revenue and more than $4 billion in net income in 2006 , Global Consumer Group comprises four sub-divisions: Cards (credit cards), Consumer Lending Group (Real-Estate Lending, Auto Loans, Student Loans), Consumer Finance, and Retail Banking. Targeting individual consumers as well as small- to medium-sized businesses, GCG offers financial services across its worldwide branch network, including banking, loans, insurance, and investment services. On March 31, 2008, Citigroup announced that it will create 2 new global businesses – Consumer Banking and Global Cards out of the existing Global Consumer Group. This has since changed. Consumer Banking "The Americas" is managed by Manuel Medina Mora who was the CEO of Banamex prior to its merger with Citigroup. Western Europe, Central Europe and Asia are under Business Managers responsible for both the Consumer and Corporate/Investment businesses. After 2008, Citigroup carved out CitiHoldings as a separate entity to manage the businesses on the block. Citigroup Nominates 4 Independent Directors by New York Times (March 16, 2009)
Consumer Finance division (branded as "CitiFinancial") accounts for about 20% of GCG's profits, and offers personal loans and homeowner loans to consumers in 20 countries worldwide. There are over 2,100 branches in the U.S. and Canada. The takeover of Associates First Capital in September 2000 enabled CitiFinancial to expand its reach outside of the United States, particularly capitalizing on Associates' 700,000 customers in Japan and Europe. Citi ended its CitiFinancial operations in the UK in 2008 . Citifinancial is head by Mary Mcdowell in Baltimore, Maryland. On December 8, 2010, CitiGroup announced a rebranding name change taking into effect summer of 2011 where CitiFinancial will then be operating under the name OneMain Financial.
Finally, the retail bank encompasses the Citi's global branch network, branded Citibank. Citibank is the third largest retail bank in the United States based on deposits (although it has considerably fewer retail branches than many of its smaller rivals), and it has Citibank branded branches in countries throughout the world, with the exception of Mexico; In Mexico Citigroup's bank operations are branded as Banamex is the country's second largest bank and a Citigroup subsidiary.
Citigroup's most famous office building is the Citigroup Center, a diagonal-roof skyscraper located in East Midtown, Manhattan, New York City, which despite popular belief is not the company's headquarters building. Citigroup has its headquarters across the street in an anonymous-looking building at 399 Park Avenue (the site of the original location of the City National Bank). The headquarters is outfitted with nine luxury dining rooms, with a team of private chefs preparing a different menu for each day. The management team is on the third and fourth floors above a Citibank branch. Citigroup also leases a building in the TriBeCa neighborhood in Manhattan at 388 Greenwich St, that serves as headquarters for its Investment and Corporate Banking operations and was the former headquarters of the Travelers Group.
Strategically, all of Citigroup's New York City real estate, excluding the company's Smith Barney division and Wall Street trading division, lies along the New York City Subway's IND Queens Boulevard Line, served by the E M trains. Consequently, the company's Midtown buildings—including 787 Seventh Avenue, 666 Fifth Avenue, 399 Park Avenue, 485 Lexington, 153 East 53rd Street (Citigroup Center), and Citigroup Building in Long Island City, Queens, are all no more than two stops away from each other. In fact, every company building lies above or right across the street from a subway station served by the E M trains.
Chicago also plays home to an architectural beauty operated by Citigroup. Citicorp Center has a series of curved archways at its peak, and sits across the street from major competitor ABN AMRO's ABN AMRO Plaza. It has a host of retail and dining facilities serving thousands of Metra customers daily via the Ogilvie Transportation Center.
Citigroup has obtained naming rights to Citi Field, the home ballpark of the New York Mets Major League Baseball team, who began playing their home games there in 2009.