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Citigroup Now ‘One of the Best Franchises’ in Banking: Bove

Citigroup Now ‘One of the Best Franchises’ in Banking: Bove

The love 'em or hate 'em divide in financial circles is pretty stark when it comes to discussing the merits of the of the so-called supermarket bank. The pros and cons of offering customers the convenience of one-stop-shopping for all their financial needs versus specializing in just one or two areas will likely be argued forever.

But when it comes to Citigroup (C), the company that blazed the trail for the mega-bank model, at least one veteran analyst thinks they'd be better off if they were more focused.

"This company has so brutalized the consumer business that, personally, I wish they weren't in it," says Richard Bove, financial services sector analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets in the attached video.

As much as Bove is critical of the bank in this area, he complements the cost-cutting efforts of who he calls "Mike and Mike" (e.g., Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat and Chairman Michael O'Neill), and says the lender "now has a new vitality." It's a claim few would dispute given that shares of Citigroup have gone to $50 from $25 in the past 12 months alone.

But ultimately, Bove's bullishness is based on his belief that "Citigroup has a lock on one of the best franchises in the business."

"There is no other bank in the world which is in over 100 countries," he says. "If you're a large corporation and you do business all over the world, Citigroup is your bank."

Even with the aforementioned consumer struggles, Bove argues that its success in "2 out of 3" business should be enough to trigger a significant earnings uptrend.

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