Citi's Consumer Bank Bolsters Bottom Line

Citi's North American consumer bank was one of the standout areas during the institution's positive third-quarter earnings results.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

North American consumer banking operations was one of the standout areas during the institution's positive

third-quarter earnings

results.

The unit -- which includes Citi's roughly 1,000 U.S. retail branches -- is finally starting to see improvement.

"During the past quarter, we made excellent progress in laying the groundwork for our strategy," said Manuel Medina-Mora, Citi's chief executive of Consumer Banking for the Americas, in an Oct. 25 internal memo.

"We are investing for future growth, aligning our efforts to meet our customer' expectations and launching new products that are innovative, customer-centric and meet the principles of Responsible Finance. Moreover, we have added new senior leadership who will help us execute even more effectively on our strategy and further enhance the teamwork across the franchise," the memo said.

Net income from Citi's North American consumer business totaled $147 million, up 70% from the second quarter and "significantly" better than planned, particularly fueled by the mortgage franchise, the memo said.

Citi's Surprising Consumer Success

At the same time Citi's net credit losses for the region declined $155 million from the second quarter to $2 billion.

Medina-Mora noted in the memo that so-called "Net Promoter Scores" in the bank's retail banking unit are at a high for the year of 54%, up from 46% in December. Citi recently launched a training program called "Ultimate Secrets" to improve customer service, which was attended by more than 9,000 employees, that it said contributed to the improvement in the scores.

Medina added that Citi is also seeing "positive momentum" in Citi Cards. Scores for servicing the bank's "ThankYou" cards rewards program are also up, the memo said.

Like other banks, Citi is

bracing for mortgage buybacks

.

"Overall it was a good quarter on many fronts and our financial results and key accomplishments demonstrate that we are gaining momentum and meeting our commitments to the company and to our shareholders," Medina-Mora said in the memo.

Citi shares were trading mostly sideways at $4.16. The stock, which has been sticking above the $4 range in the past few weeks, is up roughly 7% for the month of October.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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Laurie Kulikowski

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