Citigroup Posts $2.8 Billion Loss in Q3: Report

(Update 1: reflects mortgage data from Citi’s earnings statement) Loan origination for residential real estate is down, mortgage delinquency is up and net credit losses are way up, according to Citigroup Inc.‘s (C) third quarter earnings statement. Citigroup reported Thursday a $2.8 billion net loss, or 60 cents per share for 5.3 million outstanding shares in the third quarter 2008. The net loss from continuing operations came in at $3.4 billion, or 71 cents per share, largely due to write-downs and credit losses. Citi reported its revenues at $16.7 billion, down 23 percent from last year’s third quarter revenues of $21.6 billion. These losses were driven by $4.4 billion in write-downs, $4.9 billion in net credit losses and a $3.9 billion allowance to increase loan loss reserves. Total credit costs were $9.1 billion, up 86 percent from the prior-year period. Citi’s total expenses declined for the third consecutive quarter, down $1.2 billion from last quarter. Its head count also dropped 11,000 for the quarter, bringing the total headcount reduction to a whopping 23,000 in 2008. “While our third quarter results reflect both a difficult environment as well as continued write-downs on our legacy assets, we are making excellent progress on the parts of our business we control, including expense reduction, headcount, and balance sheet and capital management,” said CEO Vikram Pandit in a press statement. “We expect these improvements will enable us to realize the full earnings power of our franchise as the economy stabilizes.” Citi reported a $2.2 billion increase credit costs within North America operations due to primarily — what else? — continuing woes in residential real estate. The $1.9 billion net charge to increase loan loss reserves was driven by rising delinquencies in residential real estate. Write-downs included $1.2 billion, net of hedges, on Alt-A mortgages and $394 million on subprime-related direct exposures. Citi reported $1.4 billion in net credit losses for residential real estate lending — up dramatically from the $305 million reported in the prior-year period — though Citi’s earnings report claimed the more than 300 percent increase bore no real meaning. Loans 90 or more days past due reached $7.8 billion for the third quarter 2008, up more than 100 percent — another “meaningless” increase, according to Citi — from the $3.8 billion reported in the prior-year period. Residential real estate loan origination totaled $22 billion for the quarter, down 44 percent from the $39.4 billion reported in the third quarter 2007. Read Citi’s full statement >> Citi released its earnings statement after protracted weeks of feuding with Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) over the acquisition of Wachovia Corp.‘s (WB) assets. Wells said last week it intended to move forward with the acquisition of Wachovia in a stock-for-stock transaction, which is projected to be complete by the end of the fourth quarter 2008. Disclosure: The author held no relevant 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. Editor’s Note: To contact the reporter on this story, email

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