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Citigroup: Market Momentum Winner

Corbat is also expecting the company to improve its return on assets (ROA) to a range of 0.90% to 1.10%, from an unadjusted 0.62% last year.

The CEO -- who took over from the ousted Vikram Pandit in October -- said also said the company would exit 21 markets in which the company's low profit margins were "unsustainable," following the company's closure of 84 branches -- including 44 outside the U.S. -- in December.

As expected by investors, Corbat also outlined plans to accelerated the wind-down of Citi Holdings, in order to free up excess capital to be returned to investors.

While it will take some time for Citigroup to tap its potential excess capital -- including a $55 billion deferred tax asset -- the company is expected by many analysts to announce an increased return of capital to investors, following the completion of the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests.

The Fed will announce the results of the 2013 stress tests on Thursday, gauging the largest U.S. banks' ability to withstand an immediate severe recession, while remaining well-capitalized, with Tier 1 common equity ratios of at least 5.0%. Then on March 14, the regulator will release the results of the Comprehensive Analysis and Review (CCAR), which will incorporate banks' 2013 capital plans into the stress tests.

Most of the biggest U.S. banking names are expected to announce dividend increases and/or share buybacks on March 14.

Citigroup currently pays a nominal quarterly dividend of $0.01 a share. The company's initial 2012 capital plan was rejected by the Federal reserve last March, and the company's revised capital plan in August included no dividend increase or buybacks.

This time around, Goldman Sachs bank analyst Richard Ramsden expects things to turn out differently. Ramsden in a report on Monday estimated that Citigroup will raise the quarterly dividend to $0.05 a share and receive approval for $2.110 billion in share repurchases.

C Chart C data by YCharts

Interested in more on Citigroup? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.


Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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