Citigroup, which has 4,600 branches in 40 countries, boasts that it is the most global American bank. That reach paid off big time in the first three months of the year.
The bank said on Monday that it made $2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, or 95 cents per share, which includes a $1.3 billion accounting charge that Citi took because the value of its debt increased.
Citigroup pulled in record revenue from processing transactions for its international corporate clients, and its loans to customers in Asia and Latin America grew.
Without that charge, its earnings per share would be $1.11, which beat estimates of $1.01 among analysts surveyed by FactSet, a provider of financial data.
Citi stock rose almost 2 per cent after the results came out.
In the first three months of the year, interest rates fell and the value of most corporate debt rose. Because it would cost it more to buy back its own debt on the open market, Citi had to take a charge under accounting rules. Citigroup’s revenue in the quarter was $19.4 billion, down 2 percent from the year-ago quarter.
The bank’s international transaction services had quarterly revenue of $2.7 billion, up 7 percent. The international reach came in especially handy at a time when rival banks in Europe have stepped back from such transactions. European banks are struggling because they own large amounts of sovereign debt issued by European countries. Debt from Spain and Italy has fallen in value as those countries struggle to make debt payments.
Citi’s trade finance was strong because “European competitors struggled,” noted Guy Moszkowski, a bank analyst at the brokerage division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. More of Citi’s customers in emerging-market countries also took out loans. Revenues grew 6 percent in Latin America to $2.4 billion and 5 percent in Asia to $2.
However, Citigroup’s customers — both consumers and corporations — saved faster than they were spending. Citi’s total deposits grew 5 percent to $906 billion.