Citigroup to cut 53,000 more workers

Citigroup Inc. is shedding about 53,000 more employees in the coming quarters as the banking giant struggles to steady itself after suffering massive losses from deteriorating debt.

The New York-based bank, which has already reduced its assets by about 20 percent since the year's first quarter, also plans to trim expenses by 19 percent in 2009 from third-quarter levels, to $50 billion.

The plans, posted on the company's Web site, were discussed by chief executive Vikram Pandit at the company's town hall meeting with employees in New York on Monday.

The company said it is shrinking its work force by 20 percent from its 2007 peak of 375,000. The company had already announced in October that it was eliminating about 22,000 jobs from that level.

About half of the expected work force reductions will come from business sales; Citigroup already announced that it was selling Citi Global Services and its German retail banking business, accounting for about 18,000 jobs. Citi is planning to sell other businesses, too, but has not announced them yet, a spokesman said.

The other half of the work force reductions will come from layoffs and attrition, the spokesman said.

Citi did not provide a breakdown of the cuts by location or business line. The company has 2,500 employees in North Carolina, including credit card operations in Guilford County, and 2,200 in South Carolina, where it has a Fort Mill operations center that opened in 2005.

The New York-based bank has posted four straight quarterly losses, including a loss of $2.8 billion during the third quarter.

In an effort to instill confidence in the company, Citigroup emphasized in its presentation Monday that its Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of financial strength, is 10.4 percent after a $25 billion investment from the government – part of the $700 billion financial rescue package passed by Congress last month. That ratio is higher than peers Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., after their purchases of Merrill Lynch and Wachovia Corp., respectively.

Citigroup also stressed that it has doubled reserves in a year to $24 billion; that its revenues are stable; and that Citigroup has lower exposure to U.S. consumer mortgages than JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Staff writer Rick Rothacker contributed.