Citigroup became the latest bank to post better than expected results for its first quarter. The bank on Friday said net income of $1.6 billion, compared with a loss of $5.11 billion in the quarter a year ago. Citigroup’s problems are far from over, but it had its best quarter since late 2007.
The bank reported a loss to common shareholders of $966 million after massive loan losses and dividends to preferred stockholders. But before paying those dividends, the bank had net income of $1.6 billion.
Overall, Citigroup’s results were better than expected. The company reported a loss per share of 18 cents, which was narrower than the 34 cents analysts predicted. A year ago, Citigroup suffered a loss of more than $5 billion, or $1.03 a share.
Citigroup’s revenue doubled in the first quarter from a year ago to $24.8 billion thanks to strong trading activity. Its credit costs were high, though, at $10 billion, due to $7.3 billion in loan losses and a $2.7 billion increase in reserves for future loan losses.
Citigroup has been one of the weakest of the large U.S. banks, posting quarterly losses since the fourth quarter of 2007. But in March, CEO Vikram Pandit triggered a stock market rally after he said that January and February had been profitable for Citigroup.
It was one of the first signals that the banking industry might not be as sick as many believed. Earlier that month, fears that banks would need to be nationalized sent stocks plunging to 12-year lows.
Citigroup’s better-than-expected results on Friday come after surprisingly solid earnings from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co. over the past several days.