By David Benoit 

Citigroup Inc. on Friday said its fourth-quarter income fell 7% and it drew down some of the reserves it set aside to cover potentially soured loans.

The New York bank said profit fell to $4.63 billion, or $2.08 per share, compared with $4.98 billion, or $2.15 per share, a year earlier. Still, that beat the $1.34 expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue fell 10% to $16.5 billion, falling short of the $16.72 billion analysts expected.

For all of 2020, a year of upheaval in the economy, profit at the nation's third-biggest bank by assets fell 41% to $11.37 billion and revenue was flat at $74.3 billion. Like its big bank peers, Citigroup enjoyed strong results from its Wall Street operations, but that was offset by the billions of dollars the bank had to put aside for potentially bad loans.

In a sign its outlook on the economy has improved, Citigroup drew down $1.5 billion of the reserves the bank had put aside for future loan losses, a big reason the bank's profit was better than expected.

It will be the last earnings day for Chief Executive Michael Corbat, who is retiring in February after the bank finalizes its 2020 financial statements. He will be succeeded by bank president Jane Fraser, who has led various divisions since joining Citigroup in 2004 and recently ran the consumer bank.

Shares of Citigroup fell 23% in 2020, underperforming the S&P 500's 16% increase and the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index, which fell 14%. But in the first two weeks of 2021, bank stocks have been lifted by hopes of an economic recovery spurred by vaccines and potentially more government stimulus. Citigroup shares are up 12% in the new year.

Write to David Benoit at david.benoit@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 08:45 ET (13:45 GMT)

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