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Citigroup Earnings Tell a Solid Revenue Story

Stocks in this article: C

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Looking past confusing non-cash credit and debit valuation adjustments, Citigroup (C) saw its total first-quarter revenue grow 20% from the fourth quarter, and 4% year-over-year.

The shares were up 3% in early trading Monday, to $34.24.

The company's first-quarter profit was 95 cents, although operating earnings of $1.11 a share -- excluding non-cash credit valuation adjustments (CVA) and debit valuation adjustments (DVA) -- beat the consensus estimate of a dollar profit, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, reported revenue of $19.4 billion missed the consensus estimate of $19.81 billion, but a further look at the numbers tells a much better revenue story.

Excluding CVA ad DVA for all periods, Citigroup's first-quarter revenue was $20.7 billion, increasing from $17.2 billion in the fourth quarter and $20.0 billion during the first quarter of 2011.

CEO Vikram Pandit said that "Global Consumer Banking, our largest business, produced another quarter of good growth in revenues, net income and key drivers like loans and deposits. Transaction Services had record quarterly revenues as it captured increasing share in global trade finance, and Securities and Banking rebounded strongly with year-over-year revenue growth."

Leaving aside Citi Holdings -- which continues to see declining revenue --since it is holds the assets that Citigroup is winding down, main subsidiary Citicorp followed the industry trend, with recovering trading revenues during the first-quarter, following a very difficult fourth quarter.

The Institutional Clients Group saw total fourth-quarter revenue of $8.0 billion, compared to $5.8 billion the previous quarter, and $8.6 billion a year earlier. The group's first-quarter profit totaled $2.2 billion, increasing from $633 million in the fourth quarter, but declining from $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011, on lower revenue from principal transactions.

For the Global Consumer Banking division, total first-quarter revenue was $10.0 billion, increasing from $9.9 billion the previous quarter, and $9.6 billion, a year earlier. The division's profit grew 27% sequentially and 14% year-over-year, to $2.2 billion, mainly because credit costs continued to decline.

Retail banking revenue grew 9% sequentially and 15% year over year to $4.5 billion, "largely due to improved results in mortgages," following the industry trend, with President Obama's expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP 2, allowing certain mortgage borrowers to refinance their entire loan balances at today's low rates, no matter how much the value of the underlying homes have dropped.

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