Citi Plans Deep Layoffs; Likely Not Alone, Sources Say
Citigroup Inc. (C) said Monday morning will cut as many as 53,000 jobs in the coming next few quarters as the the financial giant continues to try to adjust to currently sour market conditions. The company will move headcount down approximately 20 percent from its peak of 375,000 employees at the end of 2007, according to a presentation delivered Monday to employees by CEO Vikram Pandit. Citi has announced cuts of about 22,000 jobs in October. The company also said Monday it expects to cut expenses by 20 percent, and is targeting 2009 expenses of $50 billion to $52 billion, Pandit said. He also stressed that the banking giant was continuing to deleverage itself -- a signal that Citi isn't exactly going to be hunting to make new loans anytime in the near future. See the presentation. Citi posted a $2.8 billion Q3 loss last week, as revenues fell 23 percent and credit costs rose sharply. Total credit costs during the third quarter were $9.1 billion, up 86 percent from the prior-year period; yet Pandit stressed in his town hall presentation Monday morning that Citi held less residential real estate loan in portfolio relative to its larger competitors. Citi's mortgage portfolio represented just 11 percent of assets, one slide in his presentation stressed, while the combined JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Washington Mutual would have 13 percent of assets in mortgages. At Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), which absorbed Wachovia recently, that percentage stood at 25 percent, according to the presentation. The takeaway here, apparently, is that mortgage exposure is bad exposure. And for Citi, despite relatively less mortgage exposure, loans 90 or more days past due reached $7.8 billion during Q3, up more than 100 percent from one year earlier. Speaking of JP Morgan, the UK-based newspaper the Telegraph reported Sunday that the investment and commercial banking giant was readying its own layoff plans, to the tune of 10 percent of staff. Citigroup chairman Win Bischoff commented to the Associated Press earlier Monday that Citi's executives might also be considering foregoing bonuses this year, a move likely cemented by a decision at Goldman Sachs Group (GS). Top executives at the formerly independent investment bank said Monday they would nix their 2008 bonuses amid an uproar over executive compensation using taxpayer-funded dollars. Write to Paul Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.