Home » Citigroup’s (C) CEO Michael Corbat on Q3 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Citigroup’s (C) CEO Michael Corbat on Q3 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Core operating expenses excluding legal and repositioning costs were roughly flat as ongoing efficiency savings offset the impact of business growth as well as higher regulatory and compliance costs. International credit costs declined 13% year-over-year driven by a net loan loss reserve release in the current quarter, while the net credit loss rate remained broadly favorable at just under 200 basis points.

Slide 10 shows the results for North America Consumer Banking. Net income grew 33% year-over-year this quarter driven by higher revenues, lower operating expenses, and continued favorable credit trends. Total revenues were up 5% year-over-year.

Retail Banking revenues of $1.2 billion grew 9% from last year, reflecting continued volume growth and abating spread headwinds as well as a mortgage repurchase reserve release of roughly $50 million this quarter.

Branded cards revenues of $2.1 billion were up 1% versus last year as we grew purchase sales and an improvement in spreads mostly offset the impact of lower average loans. And Retail Services revenues grew 8% from last year, mostly driven by the BestBuy portfolio acquisition.

Ongoing cost reduction initiatives drove total operating expenses down slightly year-over-year to $2.4 billion even after absorbing the impact of the BestBuy portfolio acquisition and higher legal and repositioning expenses. We continued to resize our North America Retail Banking business in Q3, taking costs out of our mortgage operations and rationalizing the branch footprint, all while continuing to grow our franchise.

Over the past twelve months we have sold or closed nearly 90 branches in North America. During this same period we grew average retail loans by 9% and average deposits by 2% including 10% growth in checking account balances. We also continued to see momentum in branded cards. While total average loans have continued to decline modestly this mostly reflects the runoff of promotional rate balances.

Full rate balances have grown year-over-year for six consecutive quarters and we continue to see strong growth in accounts and purchase sales in our proprietary Rewards and Travel co-brand products. We also launched our Double Cash card this quarter, which rounds out our product portfolio in the important cash-back segment.

Slide 11 shows our Global Consumer Credit trends in more detail. Overall Global Consumer Credit trends remained favorable in Q3, with net credit losses and delinquencies both improving as a percentage of loans. In North America the NCL rate continued to improve while 90+ day delinquency rates were flat. Asia remained stable, and in Latin America we saw a modest uptick in the NCL rate while the delinquency rate improved slightly.

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Net credit losses grew broadly in line with our expectations in Q3 driven by portfolio growth and continued seasoning in the Mexico cards portfolio as well as the impact of both slower economic growth and fiscal reforms in that market. However, our overall loan growth was slower than anticipated which had a negative impact on the NCL rate for the quarter. This slower loan growth reflected the overall economic environment as well as a higher level of prepayments in our mortgage portfolio. Looking to Q4 we expect the dollar amount of net credit losses in Latin America to be more or less stable.

Slide 12 shows the expense and efficiency trends for Global Consumer Banking on a trailing twelve-month basis. While annual expenses increased in late 2012 and early 2013, driven in part by higher North America mortgage activity, we have driven down the core expense base over the last five quarters even as we have absorbed the impact of higher expenses associated with the BestBuy portfolio acquisition. Including roughly $800 million of legal and repositioning charges over the last year, our total efficiency ratio for Global Consumer Banking was 56%.

Slide 13 shows our total Consumer expenses over the past five quarters split between core operating expenses and legal and repositioning costs. Core expenses continued to decline on a sequential basis in Q3 as we made further progress towards our year-end goals for headcount reduction, card product simplification, and branch and support site rationalization.

Turning now to the Institutional Clients Group on Slide 14, net income grew 29% year-over-year driven by higher revenues partially offset by higher operating expenses. Revenues of $8.7 billion grew 13% from last year and 2% sequentially. Total Banking revenues of $4.3 billion grew 11% from last year and were down 3% from the prior quarter.

Treasury and Trade Solutions revenues of $2 billion were up 1% year-over-year as growth in fees and volumes was partially offset by spread compression. Sequentially, revenues declined by 2% driven by lower trade assets and spreads.

Investment Banking revenues of $1.2 billion were up 32% from last year driven by strong M&A and equity underwriting activity, and down 7% from the prior quarter as continued momentum in M&A was more than offset by seasonally lower underwriting volumes. Private Bank revenues of $663 million grew 8% from last year as growth in client volumes was partially offset by the impact of spread compression.

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Corporate Lending revenues were $442 million, up 17% from last year reflecting growth in average loans and improved funding costs partially offset by lower loan yields and down 3% from last quarter on lower gains from asset sales. Total Markets and Securities Services revenues of $4.3 billion grew 8% year-over-year and 5% sequentially.

Fixed Income revenues of $3 billion grew 5% from last year driven by strength in securitized products as well as an increase in foreign exchange volatility and volumes which benefited our Rates and Currencies business in the month of September. Sequentially, Fixed Income revenues were down slightly as a seasonal decline in spread product revenues was mostly offset by strength in rates and currencies.

Equities revenues of $763 million grew 14% year-over-year driven by improved client activity in derivatives, and were up 16% sequentially on better trading performance. In Securities Services revenues grew 8% year-over-year driven by an increase in client balances and activity.

Total operating expenses of $5 billion grew 3% over prior periods, driven by the compensation adjustment, higher regulatory and compliance costs, and higher repositioning charges partially offset by ongoing efficiency savings.

On Slide 15 we show expense and efficiency trends for the Institutional business. On a trailing twelve-month basis, the efficiency ratio declined to 59% this quarter despite continued elevated legal and repositioning charges. And our comp ratio for the last twelve months was 28%, down from 29% last quarter.

Slide 16 shows the results for Corp. Other. Revenues declined year-over-year driven mainly by hedging activities while expenses increased on higher legal and related expenses as well as higher regulatory and compliance costs, including those related to the CECCAR process. Assets of $332 billion included approximately $97 billion of cash and cash equivalents and $180 billion of liquid investment securities.

Slide 17 shows Citi Holdings assets, which totaled $103 billion at quarter-end with over 60% in North America mortgages. Total assets declined $8 billion during the quarter driven by net pay downs and divestitures including the sales of our Consumer operations in both Greece and Spain.

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