Updated from 2:09 a.m. EST
is embarking on another huge round of layoffs and is raising interest rates on millions of credit-card customers, according to a published report.
The moves come as CEO Vikram Pandit tries to stabilize the financial giant, which has reported net losses of more than $20 billion over the past year, the
Wall Street Journal
Starting this week, Citigroup is handing out pink slips to at least 10,000 employees in its investment bank and other divisions throughout the world, the
reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Pandit and his deputies have instructed officials to slash their budgets for employee compensation by at least 25%.
reports spokeswoman Christina Pretto said Citigroup continues to work toward its goal of becoming more efficient, including by shrinking its work force. "We will continue to carefully manage our headcount levels as we re-engineer the company in line with our stated goal and market realities," she said.
The goal is to shrink Citigroup's work force to about 290,000 employees by next year, the
Separately, top Citigroup executives bought a total of 1.2 million shares of the company's stock late Thursday. Pandit purchased 750,000 shares, the newspaper reports, according to a person familiar with the matter. Some executives and shareholders have been hoping the CEO would buy a chunk of stock as a show of faith in the company.
Meanwhile, Citigroup, one of the nation's largest issuers of credit cards, is notifying some credit-card customers that their interest rates are being raised by an average of three percentage points. A person familiar with the strategy estimated that the rate increases would apply to less than 20% of Citigroup's card portfolio, according to the
Citi's stock is at its lowest level in 13 years this week following further downbeat news reports on the banking titan.
Wall Street Journal
said on Thursday that some
board members were increasingly dissatisfied with the company's performance and considering whether to replace Chairman Sir Win Bischoff. A leading candidate to the position would be Citi's lead director Richard Parsons, the head of
In the same article, the company is reportedly setting its sights on
in order to boost its deposit base after failing to win
Citi issued a statement Thursday qualifying its support for Bischoff as chairman and said the report was "completely erroneous." It declined to comment on acquisition rumors.
Citi's board of directors issued a memo to staff on Friday reiterating that that news coverage surrounding its chairman was "irresponsible" and "completely inaccurate."
"The board of directors and management are operating as one team completely aligned on critical issues, opportunities and the direction of the company," according to the memo, which was signed by Parsons.
"We are confident that the direction our management team has set is the right direction -- and the winning direction -- for these extraordinary times," the memo said.
Shares of Citi were down 5.6% to $8.92 in recent trading.
Staff writers Joseph Woelfel and Laurie Kulikowski contributed to this report.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.