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Break up Citigroup?

It may have achieved better than expected second quarter results (CNN), but they haven’t done much to dispel the crowd of caterwaulers baying for Citigroup to be broken into its constituent parts.

The loudest cries are currently coming from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which holds a microscopic 0.002% of Citigroup’s shares. It wants the bank split into two business areas: a retail bank and an investment bank/trading house.

Another pro-disintegration shareholder, William Smith of New York-based SAM Advisors, says Citigroup’s “beautiful businesses” have “been suffocated” and that Citigroup is “bloated and mismanaged” (Bloomberg).

However, splitting up is anathema to Citigroup bankers, who’ve spent the past decade preaching the mantra of one bank, cross-selling and being all things to all people at all times. And as noted above, the big bank didn’t do too badly in the last quarter.

Are the State, County and Municipal Employees right? Are Citigroup’s beautiful businesses being squidged by its bulk? Voice your opinions below.

Comments (3)

  1. Citigroup didn’t do badly last quarter, but nor did it do great. Writedowns were $7.2bn, down from $18.1bn in the first quarter. Is $7.2bn really so great? I don’t think so.

  2. Citigroup could sell those businesses for good premiums. It needs the cash. Now’s not the time for sentimentality folks.

  3. The best thing for Citi now would be to sell of it’s asset management operations. That way it could raise a lot of cash in one go. Forget tinkering about on the edges with German retail banking.

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