Digital Banking

Citigroup Eyes Creation Of National Digital Bank

Citigroup is gearing up to launch a digital consumer bank that will be national in scope and will arrive within the next three years.

Citing Citigroup Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Gerspach, Reuters reported the executive said at an investor conference that the financial company is “laying the groundwork for having a national digital bank. I am not making an announcement right now, but I would be really disappointed if it was anything close to being three years away.”

As it stands now, Citigroup operates branch offices in only six large cities in the U.S. but has credit cards that are used around the country. Following on the heels of the financial crisis, Reuters reported the company pull away from having locations in smaller cities, as well as Texas, in an effort to slash costs. The CFO said the bank won’t start marketing a national digital bank until it can provide services via mobile phones and computers for customers, who have increasingly gone digital.

For its fourth quarter, Citigroup’s adjusted earnings per share was $1.28, up 4 percent year over year and $0.9 better than the Street. Its top line was up 1.4 percent to $17.26 billion, better than the projections of $17.22 billion. Similar to other banks that have reported thus far into the earnings season, institutional results declined year over year as investment banking and trading results were off 1 percent.

As was seen with JPMorgan, Citi also had exposure to South African furniture firm Steinhoff International, whose troubles resulted in losses on derivatives to the tune of $130 million. Turning to consumer-focused results, CEO Michael Corbat told analysts during an earnings conference call that credit conditions are favorable, pointing out that consumer banking is up 4 percent, with international growth at 7 percent.

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