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Citi earns $3 billion in 1Q as mortgage lending increases

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Citigroup (C) earned $3 billion in the first quarter, or 10 cents per share. While the results fell 31% from one year ago, earnings more than doubled the previous quarter. The bank reported $19.7 billion in revenue for the quarter, down 22% from a year earlier. Citi said the lower revenues came from a decline in the fixed-income markets and regional consumer banking in North America. However mortgage originations in North America actually increased. Citi originated $14.1 billion in mortgages, a 37% increase from one year ago. Citi originated $21.8 billion in new mortgages in the previous quarter. The bank continued to work through its book of bad loans. Citi Holdings assets were at $337 billion at the end of the first quarter, a 50% drop from the year before. Net credit losses at the bank declined for the seventh consecutive quarter to $6.3 billion, allowing Citi to release $3.3 billion it had set aside for loan-loss provisions into profits. Last year marked the first full year of positive earnings for the bank since the financial crisis. CEO Vikram Pandit said the start of 2011 has continued that momentum. "As America's global bank, we are focused on supporting the real economy and creating opportunities for our clients to succeed," Pandit said. "Our sustained profitability has put us in a good position to accomplish our next goal of responsible growth." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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