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Citigroup stumbles onward

After two consecutive quarterly profits, Citigroup ran up a loss in the third quarter as consumer loans overwhelmed trading results. The bank said it had a loss of 27c a share or $3.2 billion, compared with $2.9 billion, or 61c a share, in the third quarter a year ago. Ouch! These included $8 billion in credit losses as Vikram Pandit has been struggling to turn around the troubled bank. US taxpayers now own 34% of it, following the upheavals of 2008 and early 2009. Pandit is trying to shrink the bank’s balance sheet and whip its businesses into shape even as he is trying to find a way to repay part of the $45 billion in federal aid and get out from under government’s thumb. Although its trading operations had good results from bond and currency businesses, its credit card and mortgage activities are haemorrhaging badly.

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