Citigroup quarterly profits fall 27%


US bank Citigroup has reported a 27% fall in first quarter profits compared with last year. In comparison, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. reported an 11% decline in its trading business during the first quarter, while Bank of America posted a 16% drop.

The bank, which has subsequently set aside more money to cover losses on energy loans, is restructuring to focus on more profitable businesses and net income fall to $3.5 billion (£2.5 billion) from $4.8 billion the time a year earlier.

Banks globally have had a difficult start to the year amid near-zero interest rates and a slowdown in China. Adding to this are loans to energy companies as a slump in oil prices drives many oil and gas producers to the brink of bankruptcy.

The bank’s profit decline, in the three months to the end of March, is the largest among big US banks that have reported first quarter results so far. Citi recently slipped from third to fourth biggest US bank by assets, after being overtaken by Wells Fargo.

Citigroup, which gets more revenue from outside its home market than any of its U.S. competitors, said in the first quarter that it plans to sell retail-banking and credit-card operations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.