NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C) will focus more on buying back its stock than raising dividends as the company rewards shareholders after passing last year's review by the Federal Reserve, CEO Michael Corbat said on Thursday.
"As long as our stock trades below book value, we're going to be primarily focused in terms of buyback," Corbat said during a nearly hour-long talk at Bernstein's 31st Annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. "It's the most accretive thing we can do for our shareholders."
Citigroup raised its quarterly dividend to 5 cents a share in March, after receiving no objections from the Federal Reserve to its plans, and said it would repurchase $7.8 billion of its stock over a five-quarter period starting in the three months from April through June.
The moves occurred as the New York-based bank continued to grapple with regulatory issues.
Among the most painful may have been the fallout from the role of some employees in rigging the euro-dollar exchange rate from 2007 to 2013. In November, Citi was fined $1.02 billion by U.S. and U.K. authorities, and last week the bank was fined $1.26 billion by the Justice Department and Fed for similar charges and pleaded guilty to a felony antitrust charge.
The bank "got through a lot of issues," in 2014, Corbat said. "Some of those were painful to deal with, but I think we have positioned our company and our businesses in a way where we can show the real true earnings potential."