If size has the disadvantage of miring the bank in every financial scandal going, from Enron to Parmalat, the Citigroup results for 2003 prove that is also means being exposed to a lot of sectors that are doing well.
With record fourth quarter earnings of $4.76 Billion – a 96 per cent increase on the same period a year earlier – Citigroup took net income for the twelve months to $17.85 billion, an increase of 17 per cent over 2002. Since the 2002 figures included a contribution from Travelers Property Casualty, which was subsequently spun off, this is eve better than it looks: income from continuing operations of $17.85 billion was up 33 per cent over 2002.
“Citigroup’s record 2003 performance exemplifies the earnings power of our best-in-class businesses and the strength of our extraordinary model,” boasts Charles Prince, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup. “We did more, for more clients, in more places than any other financial services company, and we are entering 2004 in an excellent business position. Customer volumes remain strong, as they were throughout 2003.
We maintained the number one position in global debt and equity underwriting as well as global disclosed fees. We have established ourselves as the leading private label credit card issuer. Our customer deposits through our retail bank reached $241 billion globally, and total client assets in our Private Client business passed the $1 trillion mark this quarter.
Our organic growth momentum, combined with the acquisitions we announced during the year in key areas, including the Sears credit card business, the Home Depot private label relationship card business, the consumer finance business of Washington Mutual, and Forum Financial, provide an unmatched platform from which to grow. We surpassed $100 billion in equity capital and trust preferred securities for the first time in our history, and we increased our common dividend 94% during the year while maintaining industry-leading credit ratings.
Throughout the year, we invested in each of our global businesses, strengthening their competitive positions as we enter 2004. Our leading market positions and our unique international presence make us extremely well-positioned to capitalize on the improving global economic environment.
Our ability to continue to grow and evolve as an organization, even as we completed a seamless transition to new leadership, was perhaps our most important accomplishment. With the blueprint established under Sandy Weill, we’ve continued to forge a new model of a highly successful, global financial services company, capable of delivering consistent growth to our shareholders.”