By Chris Kay, Managing Director, Head of Innovation April 23, 2010 04:48 PM
With the launch of our first two new retail branch experiences in Tokyo last week, we're on our way to a reinventing banking to be more customer-centric. We are moving away from the banking model that requires our customers to come to us, to a model where we are everywhere for customers when they need us. We're starting with a new branch that makes banking simple and easy, and allows our customers to have a deeper discussion with Citi about their financial needs.
The experience includes state-of-the-art touchscreen workstations that our customers can use to complete their daily banking needs on their own, assisted by branch staff, or by video link to online advisers. We're looking at all these experiences being delivered seamlessly to the home, mobile phone, web, or whatever way in which our customers choose to engage.
By Jonathan Clements, Citi's Director of Financial Education April 21, 2010 05:22 PM
We may be bullish, but we aren't necessarily buying stocks.
Both the optimism and the wariness of Americans are on display based on the latest survey conducted for Citi by Hart Research. Among folks with $100,000 or more in investable assets, 62 percent say the investment climate will get better over the next six months, while 35 percent say it will get worse.
Despite this optimism, just 37 percent of investors say this is a good or excellent time to buy individual stocks, while 36 percent say they have been moving money into less risky assets. Indeed, asked whether their strategy was focused on maintaining wealth or building wealth, 57 percent chose maintaining wealth, while 42 percent said building wealth.
By Vikram Pandit, CEO April 20, 2010 05:58 PM
At Citi, we know that the essential role of a bank is to help customers save, invest, spend, borrow and protect their money with trust and confidence. A sharp focus on those basics since our founding nearly 200 years ago made Citi a great institution, winning the business of millions of customers in America and around the world. As I told shareholders at Citi's annual meeting earlier today, we're focusing our energies on these critical functions.
Our effort starts with understanding our customers and meeting their needs. We're proving this commitment by recognizing the challenges of the current environment and offering customers who are facing financial hardship a range of targeted programs to deal with their circumstances. Since the start of the U.S. housing crisis in 2007 through the first quarter of 2010, Citi has helped more than 900,000 homeowners in their effort to avoid potential foreclosure. Citi has also been helping nearly 1.7 million credit card members manage their card debt through a variety of forbearance programs.
By Citi April 19, 2010 03:50 PMEarlier this morning, Citi released its earnings report for the first quarter of 2010. Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach filmed the following message discussing the report.
For more information and the full earnings report, visit the Investor Relations section of Citigroup's website.
By Citi April 16, 2010 10:39 AM
Californians are resilient -- you pretty much have to be if you live on a fault line. And when it comes to our personal finances, a new survey reveals that Californians are bouncing back -- despite their pessimism about the state's economic future.
The latest Citi California Pulse™ survey found that while 69 percent of Californians say they see few signs of improvement in the state's economy, optimism about their own economic futures is on the rise. Of the 1,201 Californians surveyed, 67 percent believe their personal financial situation will improve over the next twelve months, and 54 percent expressed optimism about potential job opportunities during the same period.
By Citi April 15, 2010 05:27 PM
For many borrowers, the challenges of financial hardship become a complex equation. They are often overextended and in homes they can no longer afford. In February, we developed an initiative that helps them avoid foreclosure, the Citi Foreclosure Alternative Program, representing an opportunity for customers to stay in their homes for up to six months, rent-free.
Under the terms of the program, which is being run as a pilot in six states, borrowers nearing foreclosure can cease mortgage payments and remain in their home in exchange for the deed to their property. By assigning their deed to us, they avoid foreclosure and are given additional time and financial relocation assistance to make plans for their future.
By Sanjiv Das, President and CEO, CitiMortgage, Inc. April 14, 2010 05:59 PM
(Excerpts from April 13, 2010 testimony before the House Financial Services Committee)
CitiMortgage has a long history of helping homeowners. We have put considerable resources toward helping our customers who are facing financial challenges remain in their homes. Since 2007, we have helped more than 825,000 families in their efforts to avoid foreclosure. In the fourth quarter of 2009, we were able to help families in their efforts to avoid foreclosure by a ratio of 15 to 1.
Our goal is to work with our customers to find the most affordable solution, and to assist those who are in need. At Citi, we have addressed affordability with programs that go beyond the Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Our programs address core issues which borrowers face such as unemployment, imminent risk of default and the need for alternatives to foreclosure for those not able to afford owning a home.
By Citi April 14, 2010 10:49 AM
When the U.S. Congress passed "The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010" on March 26, it eliminated the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. With the U.S. Department of Education moving to a model of direct student lending via the Federal Direct Loan Program, banks and other financial institutions will no longer have a role in federal student loan originations beginning July 1, 2010.
Throughout the legislative process, Citi, through its subsidiary, The Student Loan Corporation (SLC), strongly advocated maintaining choice and competition in federal student lending. Regardless of this new legislation, SLC remains committed to private student loans.
By Citi April 13, 2010 03:30 PM
With April marking Financial Literacy Month, there is a great deal of public attention on financial education and its potential as a tool to improve the economy. At a Citi-sponsored event last week organized by The Greater Washington Jump$tart Coalition, "Financial Education and Washington," participants framed the issue and highlighted financial literacy initiatives directed at students.
In opening remarks, Eric Bell, an assistant vice president at Citi Private Bank who is the volunteer president of the DC-area coalition, noted a 2008 Jump$tart Coalition survey finding that financial literacy of high school students had fallen to its lowest level ever. He also outlined a vision for personal finance to be covered in every student's education. "A few decades ago, credit was extended only to those who could prove their ability to repay. Today, however, both college graduates and high school dropouts enter their adult lives with crippling student loans and credit card debt, frequently without a job in place to provide the income they will need to repay it," he said. "If young people are not prepared to make financial decisions wisely, substantial negative consequences may result that we will ultimately face as a nation."
By Jonathan Clements, Citi's Director of Financial Education April 12, 2010 01:07 PM
If things are so good, why do we feel so bad? A new nationwide survey released this week by Citi, and conducted by Hart Research Associates, found that 80 percent of Americans rate the economy as fair or poor and 59 percent believe the economy still hasn't hit bottom. Moreover, some 33 percent of Americans say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago and another 52 percent say their financial condition is about the same. We are, it seems, mired in an economic winter.
This may be a little puzzling, because there are plenty of signs of spring. U.S. economic growth turned positive in 2009's third quarter. March's unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, down from 10.1 percent in October 2009. The real estate market appears to be stabilizing. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up some 75 percent since the March 2009 bear market low.