Citi: Hopes that ICG can keep doing better
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Citi: Hopes that ICG can keep doing better

Like most of its big US peers, Citi had a strong run in 2018

By the time it reported its third-quarter numbers in October, Citi was showing year-to-date net income of $13.7 billion, 14% ahead of the first nine months of 2017.

Its big stock repurchase programme is now taking down a substantial percentage of shares outstanding – 8% lower by October than 12 months earlier – so earnings per share were ahead by an eye-catching 24% compared with the first three quarters of 2017.

With underlying revenue growth of 4% across its two main business divisions, global consumer banking (GCB) and the institutional clients group (ICG), and its efficiency ratio down to 57.3%, Citi, under CEO Michael Corbat, was running at an 11.2% return on tangible common equity for the first nine months, ahead of its target for the whole of 2018 of 10.5%.

That’s not too shabby for an institution whose long-serving chief financial officer, John Gerspach, wouldn’t even set a target for return on equity in the tough years of reshaping the bank after the crisis.

By 2014, Citi was still only returning 6%. Back then investors and management would have bitten your hand off for 11.2%.

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