Citigroup ( C), fresh off a defeat in its fight to acquire Wachovia ( WB), is in no rush to deploy the $25 billion capital injected this week by the U.S. Treasury in a new acquisition.

Citi CFO Gary Crittenden said on a conference call to discuss the firm's third-quarter earnings that the bank felt good about its capital position before the government's equity investment. But as consumer credit conditions continue to materially decline, Citi plans to proceed cautiously.

"This represents in many ways something we had not counted on, something we hadn't planned for, and it does represent then the possibility of our taking advantage of opportunities that otherwise might have been foreclosed to us," Crittenden said.

"If it makes sense for us, if it grows our business ... furthers our strategic agenda in some way that's fundamental then we'll use it in that way," Crittenden continued. "But we're not going to treat this as a windfall and in some way back off of the other measures to get the company fit because we have this as an additional capital capacity."

Citigroup reported early Thursday a quarterly loss of $2.8 billion, or 60 cents a share, narrower than a loss of 70 cents a share that analysts were expecting. Citi had forewarned that third-quarter results would be disappointing during a conference call to discuss its planned acquisition of Wachovia's banking operations, which was upended by a better offer from Wells Fargo ( WFC).

The New York bank said the loss from continuing operations in the quarter was $3.4 billion, or 71 cents a share, primarily because of fixed income writedowns and higher consumer credit costs. A year earlier, Citi reported net income of $2.2 billion, or 44 cents a share.

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