Citigroup's regulatory capital continued to grow, reflecting continued profits, as well as an increase in the among of deferred tax assets it was allowed to include in the capital ratio calculations, and because Citi Holdings continued to shrink, with total assets of $171 million as of Sept. 30, declining from 10% from the previous quarter, and 31% from a year earlier.
Citigroup's shareholders have been eager for the company to raise its nominal one-cent quarterly dividend and begin share buybacks, but the Federal Reserve in March rejected the company's plan to return capital. When asked about new plans to return capital, in light of the company's strong estimated Basel III Tier 1 common equity ratio of 8.6%, Pandit said "it's still early. We haven't even seen the scenario yet," that the Federal Reserve will use during the first quarter during its next round of stress tests," and that "as we look at that and then we'll decide what we will request from the regulators on capital."
While noting that all he could do at this point is "try to put together what we are seeing in the press release," Guggenheim analyst Marty Mosby says that "one of the comforting parts" is that CFO John Gerspach is not resigning. "If the CFO was also resigning, you could look at it and say there was something financial involved."
Mosby says that "this is an operational issue, not a financial issue," but that the timing of the announcement meant that "something came to a head and forced the issue.""If it was a natural transition of any sort, it would have been announced in January and executed in April," Mosby says, in order to put the new management in place following the filing of the company's annual financial report. Along with serving as CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Corbat has been "the person winding down Citi Holdings," Mosby says, which could indicate that the board of directors is seeking to accelerate the disposition of assets from the runoff subsidiary.