Citigroup Inc’s finance chief Mark Mason predicted a strong economic recovery this year. This is as more people get vaccinated, but cautioned that may not translate into better profits for the bank because of a slowdown in institutional businesses and higher expenses. The CFO also stated that it is been a consumer-led recovery, which is particularly driven by the significant take up that they have seen as it relates to vaccinations.
Manson even warned that the bank does not expect a sizeable uptick in corporate loan growth. He even added that given the liquidity that’s in the market and all the debt issuance activity that they saw last year, and now he is not expecting corporate loan growth in the balance of the year. The CFO also hinted at higher than expected expenses for the bank in the quarter. This is as the lender continued to invest in areas such as investment banking, wealth management and others.
The pipeline in the segment remains strong. And the bank has been a leader in raising money for the special purpose acquisition companies. From the start of 2021 to March, US SPACs had raised a record of about $100 billion, according to data from Dealogic. Mason also said that he expects to hear back over the next month from potential buyers for its consumer operations in the Asia and markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa the bank is exiting. Citigroup said that in April of this year, it would exit consumer businesses in 13 markets. Which includes Australia, China and India, in keeping with Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser’s turnaround strategy of bringing Citigroup in line with the profitability of its rival banks.