Citi to Shrink by a Third— Back to Pre-Merger Size

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 8:16 AM CST
A man walks out from a Citibank branch in Hong Kong Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Say goodbye to the Citigroup empire. When the company releases its earnings next week, it'll also unveil a drastic plan to slice away businesses until it’s roughly two-thirds of its current size, the Wall Street Journal reports, and looks much like Citicorp did before the merger that created Citigroup. After ceding Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley and shedding or shrinking several other units, the new leaner Citi will cater to large corporations and rich people.

In addition to the Smith Barney brokerage business, Citi will dump two consumer-finance units and the company's private-label credit-card business, the Journal reports, and rein in trading activities. It’s a drastic change, signaling the end of the merger-fueled growth strategy that made Citi one of the world’s biggest banks, but “was never going to work,” says one Citi shareholder. “You had three management teams that all failed to integrate this.”