With $45 billion in taxpayer funds burning a hole in its pocket, Citigroup is purchasing a $50 million Dassault Falcon 7X, according to the New York Post. Apparently none of the existing jets that ferried execs to Washington to ask for bailout funds was ironic enough.
Federal regulators took extreme steps to prop up Citigroup, backing $306 billion of mainly real estate loans and securities and directly injecting money by buying $20 billion of preferred stock. The $20 billion of stock will pay an 8% dividend. Regulators will also get an additional $7 billion of preferred stock. Citigroup will basically halt dividend payments for 3 years and limit some executive pay. It will also implement the FDIC’s loan modification plan, which is close to the one it had already announced for itself.
If you have a Citigroup-issued credit card and you haven’t had a rate increase over the last two years, expect to be notified of a 2-3% rate increase on your November statement. Congratulations! You’re going to help Citigroup offset its losses in the global credit card division, whether you were directly part of those losses or not. As the New York Times points out, by doing this Citigroup is breaking the promise they made to Congress in 2007 that they would not arbitrarily raise rates on accounts—which may be why they’re offering a fairly lenient opt-out policy.
What do Wachovia customers need to do now that Citigroup owns your ass? Absolutely nothing. You can do all your online and offline banking just like nothing happened. No temporarily held funds, no chained and locked bank branches. Everything is the same. Even your bank’s regulator remains the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Down the road there will likely be a few alterations, most of them cosmetic. Read our post “Insiders: Probable 1-Year Timeline For Customers In WaMu To Chase Transfer” for some of the changes you can expect.
Part of Wachovia will remain independent — including its massive brokerage business which ballooned after it purchased AG Edwards in 2007, as well as its Evergreen investment management division.
Last year Citigroup pledged to abandon the customer-screwing policy of universal default, where an unrelated late payment or credit score change can trigger an interest rate increase on your Citibank card. They even used a marketing phrase to promote their promise: “a deal is a deal.” According to the New York Times, Citigroup is “quietly reconsidering its pledge” and may decide to reinstate universal default as early as this week.
A lot of blame has sloshed around for the sub-prime meltdown, from greedy borrowers to greedy mortgage brokers to Alan Greenspan, but if you want the real culprit, it was the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act. On November 12, 1999, the champagne must have been shooting from the walls at Citigroup, which had worked behind the scenes for over 30 years to get the act overturned. After recovering from their hangover, they and their banking buddies went on a sub-prime lending orgy. But what was Glass-Steagall and how did it use to protect us?
Do you wish you had a way to spend your money more easily, without all that opening-the-wallet or punching-the-pin-number manual labor? The trade publication Cards & Payments (registration required) says that it’s received a copy of a report filed with the FCC that indicates Citigroup is developing a Near Field Communication, or NFC, mobile phone that would allow its customers to make contactless payments at participating retailers.
Citigroup writes down $18.1 billion due to investments related to subprime debt. Observers and analysts unanimously agree that that is a lot of billions. [Reuters]
Goldman Sachs has downgraded Citigroup, the nation’s largest bank, estimating that it will have to take a $15 billion hit due to its exposure to the subprime meltdown. Two weeks ago, Citigroup estimated that its mortgage related write-downs would total from $8-$11 billion as its CEO, Charles Prince “resigned.”
Call it the “golden boot:” Citigroup’s deposed CEO to get $12.5 million cash bonus. [NYT]
Citigroup said to announce announce another 8-11 billion in losses due to bad investments based on subprime mortgages tomorrow. Ouch. [CNNMoney]
Citibank’s chairman and CEO Charles Prince announced his resignation Sunday, citing the subprime meltdown as the reason for his departure.
A Senate hearing today called up executives in the credit card industry to defend their anti-consumer practices, their explanations provoking laughter from the crowd.
Citigroup announced it will stop using the “Universal Default” clause for credit card borrowers, which should come as a surprising piece of good news for consumers.
Buckle yourselves in, boys and girls. Is this email we just received from Kate H. the first rumbling of another massive slate of Citibank security breaches?
Hey, remember all those debit cards and PINs that got stolen and stuff? Where hackers got into Office Max, made off with debit card accounts and encrypted PIN codes, decrypted the PINs, made counterfeit ATM cards, and withdraw lots of money and large amounts of people were forced to get their ATM card changed without anyone telling them the real reason why? Well, apparently Citigroup remembers too. Eventually.