The credit situation is so fluid that even Citi, in a way, concedes it doesn't have a full handle on how bad it really is; and that no matter what the company says, its comments should be taken with a grain of salt.
Said CFO Gary Crittenden regarding mortgage delinquencies:
We have kind of a 30-day lag in getting the information from the industry. We think we are running better than the industry. But having said that, there clearly was an uptick in the quarter and our expectation is that this is going to continue as we go into the fourth quarter.
Later he added that the credit situation "may very well impact us as we go into the fourth quarter."
But, wait: On Oct. 1, the company said it should return to a "normal earnings environment in the fourth quarter," without explaining what normal is. An uptick in delinquencies is not normal, which suggests that in span of two weeks the situation changed -- and not for the best.
The beat goes on...