Citigroup ready to go on offense?

|About: Citigroup Inc. (C)|By:, SA News Editor

Excepting Wells Fargo, Citigroup's (NYSE:C) share price has lagged that of big bank peers since CEO Michael Corbat took over nearly 5 years ago. ROE remains lame - just 7.4% in Q1 - and the stock trades at just 85% of book value, the weakest valuation among peers.

Corbat's focus has been on narrowing Citi's focus - exiting non-core businesses and slashing the number of corporate clients to 14K from 30K. Investors are ready for the next stage of the story - growth.

For now, the bank's biggest bet has been on credit cards - most notably evident in winning the Costco business from AmEx. Citi now has the largest card lending portfolio of any U.S. bank, with card lending making up 24% of total bank loans - nearly double the ratio of BofA and JPMorgan, according to Bernstein.

In a departure from practice over nearly the last decade, Citi is holding an investor day in July, where Corbat will have a chance to change the perception among some that he and his team don't have a vision for a return to growth.

Source: Telis Demos in the WSJ

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