is one of Americaís largest banking groups. Along with Wells Fargo
, JPMorgan Chase
and Bank of America it is one of the United Statesí "big four" banks. Citigroup has for a long time attempted to be a ďfinancial supermarketĒ where a customer could get a product for virtually any financial purpose. This also meant that they aimed to cross sell their products so that someone using a current account would also be sold retirement investment plans and insurance products. This was seen to have been partially abandoned when they sold their Smith Barney stock broking arm to Morgan Stanley to create Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
is based in New York City. It is the result of the merger of Citibank and Travellers group in 1998, one of the largest ever mergers up to that date. It has the largest network of financial services providers in the world, with 16,000 offices in 148 countries employing about 300,000 staff. It has more than 200 million customer accounts across the various financial products.
It was one of the most prominent casualties of the 2008 financial crisis, suffering enormous losses and it had to be rescued by the US government, which eventually took a 36% equity share in the business. It has as a result sold off a number of its assets and reduced its dividend to 1 cent a share. It has been criticized for not adequately cutting the bonuses that it paid out to top staff even after being bailed out by the United States government.
Citigroup started as the City Bank of New York and was chartered in 1812, serving the merchants of New York with trade financing. It became part of the national banking system in 1865, changing its name to the National City Bank of New York and by 1895 it was the largest bank in the United States. It became the first American bank to open a foreign branch, in 1914 in Buenos Aires, although British
and Canadian banks
had opened up a number of overseas branches themselves, reflecting the less concentrated nature of American banking. In 1918 it became the first US bank to surpass $1 billion in assets due to its purchase of the International Banking Corporation.
Citibank has always been one of the innovators in American banking, becoming the first American bank to offer compound interest on savings in 1921, then unsecured personal loans in 1928 and checking accounts in 1936 Ė shaping the face of personal banking in the United States. It later introduced the MasterCard (although it was branded with the Citibank logo at the time). MasterCard has subsequently been spun off into a different company and is now one of the biggest credit card companies in the world. However Citi Cards, the credit card division of Citigroup, is responsible for 40% of Citigroupís profits.
Citibank also has the Primerica brand that sells financial products directly to consumers. Primerica is unusual in that it does not have the Citi brand.
Citi Smith Barney was Citigroupís full service stock broker and wealth management unit. They were a large presence in the market with 800 offices. This was sold to Morgan Stanley to create Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. In wealth management Citigroup still has a private bank and investment research
Citibank is Citigroupís global retail banking branch network, often seen as the backbone of Citigroupís presence. Although it has fewer branches than many of its rivals it has one of the largest deposit bases of all the banks. Mexico is the only significant market where the retail branches arenít branded as Citibank, where they are called Banamex.
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