Citigroup to close 330 branches in consumer finance reorganization

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
By Paul Martin

NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup (C) is closing 330 branches of its U.S. consumer finance business as part of a restructuring aimed at finding a buyer for the unit, the bank said Tuesday.
The branch closures at CitiFinancial will result in about 500 to 600 job cuts across 48 U.S. states, the bank said.

The U.S. business of CitiFinancial will also be split into two parts, one offering personal, home equity and refinancing loans and the other handling loan modifications and restructuring, Citigroup said.

CitiFinancial will be renamed after the reorganization is complete.

The restructuring “will provide a lot of clarity” into CitiFinancial’s operations for potential buyers of the business, CitiFinancial CEO Mary McDowell said in an interview.

Citigroup split itself into two parts last year — Citicorp and Citi Holdings, the division holding noncore, riskier assets including the mortgage-backed securities that undermined the bank and other financial institutions. CitiFinancial is a part of Citi Holdings.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit said earlier this year that the bank would continue selling off Citi Holdings, which had $547 billion worth of assets at the end of 2009.

Citigroup received $45 billion in government bailout money at the height of the financial crisis. It raised $20 billion in December to help repay the money it received as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The remaining $25 billion was converted to stock last fall, giving the government what is now a 22% ownership stake.

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