Shares of the New York financial-services company at last check were up nearly 3% to $75 a share.
Citigroup reported net of $7.9 billion, or $3.62 a share, triple the earnings of $2.5 billion, or $1.06 a share, in the year-earlier quarter.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $2.60 a share.
Revenue totaled $20.7 billion, down 7% from a year earlier. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $18.8 billion.
Citigroup has raised more than any other bank for special-purpose-acquisition companies this year, according to Bloomberg, as managers of the vehicles set out to hunt unspecified takeover targets.
The bank said that higher revenue in investment banking and equity markets was more than offset by lower interest rates, the absence of prior-year mark-to-market gains on loan hedges within the institutional clients group, and lower card volumes in global consumer banking.
“It’s been a better than expected start to the year, and we are optimistic about the macro environment," said Jane Fraser, who recently took over as the new CEO of Citigroup, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. bank.
"We reported record net income driven by strong performance in our Institutional Clients Group and a significant release from our allowance for credit losses, as a result of the improving economic outlook," Fraser said.
While global consumer banking revenues were down quarter-over-quarter as a result of the pandemic, Fraser said, "this is the healthiest we have seen the consumer emerge from a crisis in recent history."
Citigroup said it planned to close retail banking operations in 13 countries across Asia and parts of Europe.
"As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth," Fraser said.
The results included the release of $2.7 billion in reserves set aside to cover bad loans during the peak of last year's pandemic. The banking firm also plans a $25 billion share buyback.
In addition, several banks reported earnings on Wednesday.