Citigroup earnings rise 74 percent, to $3.8 billion

Posted Oct. 17, 2011, at 8:33 p.m.

NEW YORK — Citigroup Inc.’s earnings rose 74 percent in the third quarter as more of its customers paid their bills on time, leading to lower losses from loans. An accounting gain also boosted income.

It was the seventh straight quarter of income growth for Citi, the nation’s third-largest bank by assets. Citigroup was one of the biggest recipients of taxpayer support during the financial crisis. It received $45 billion in bailouts funds and was partly owned by the government until December 2010.

The New York bank’s net income rose 74 percent, to $3.8 billion, due to lower losses from loans and an accounting gain related to the valuation of the bank’s own debt. Citi’s stock fell 1.7 percent to close at $27.93, less than other banks stocks.

The profit report came as the Occupy Wall Street movement entered its second month and spread across the country, targeting large financial institutions like Citi. As of Monday the bank said it had not yet been approached by organizers of the protest following an offer last week from Citigroup’s CEO, Vikram Pandit, to meet with them.

Banks like Citi have benefited as Americans have improved their financial health, saving more and paying off their credit card debt on time. Citi’s losses from bad loans fell 41 percent during the quarter to $4.5 billion as defaults fell on Citi-branded cards. That allowed Citi to add $1.4 billion to its earnings from credit reserves it had set aside earlier in anticipation of deeper losses.

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