Citi makes US$2.9 billion as int’l transactions grow


NEW YORK–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.

Citigroup pulled in record revenue from processing transactions for its international corporate clients, and its loans to customers in Asia and Latin America grew.

The bank said Monday that it made US$2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, or 95 cents per share, which includes a US$1.3 billion accounting charge that Citi took because the value of its debt increased.

Without that charge, its earnings per share would be US$1.11, which beat estimates of US$1.01 among analysts surveyed by FactSet, a provider of financial data.

Citi stock rose almost 2 percent 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 US$19.4 billion, down 2 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

The bank’s international transaction services had quarterly revenue of US$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.