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Consumers have shown ‘phenomenal resiliency’ amid coronavirus: Citigroup CEO

In this article:
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Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the state of the consumer and the overall health of the U.S. ecoonomy.

Video Transcript

MICHAEL CORBAT: And clearly, from an industry-- not just a Citi, but an industry-- perspective, obviously, the revenues in that business remain under pressure due to the impact of the pandemic. From a Citi perspective, that's manifested itself or shown itself predominantly in the declining credit card spending. Credit card is a big business for us. A big part of our clients' spend historically has been on the travel and leisure space. And so we haven't been able to obviously escape that.

But I think at the same time, through the programs that we've offered in terms of forbearance and other things, I think we've seen a consumer-- not just here in the US, but around the world-- that's in many cases or in many ways, shown phenomenal resiliency. We see savings rates up. We see delinquencies, and we see credit charge-offs actually at levels below where we were a year ago, I think, which many people would believe and cite to be extraordinary.

And again in this quarter, from an income perspective, our consumer franchise made $1.4 billion despite those challenges that are out there. I think, Andy, from a share price perspective, that Citi's performance relative to other banks has varied through the crisis. And that could continue over time as we move past this crisis and demonstrate our resiliency. And again, I think the way we've come through the past nine months has shown that so far. We believe the stock price will adjust accordingly.

Back in March, along with other US banks, we took the proactive step to suspend share repurchases to further bolster our capital. Our capital is up at 11.8% common equity tier 1 ratio, and obviously, gives us a position of strength. We continue to pay our dividend. We've got a $0.51 per quarter dividend that we know we came into the crisis paying. We continue to pay and we're committed to continue to do that.

And I think when you go out and talk to our investors, that they have varying reasons for how things are behaving in these highly volatile markets. And I would say that there is a huge degree of uncertainty. We are a global business. And this pandemic is not US, it clearly is global.

So I think time and consistency of results will lead to strong stock performance. And if you look back at before January, before all this started-- January, February-- US bank stocks were performing pretty well. And Citi shares were above $80. So our goal is to make sure we do the right things, we make good decisions, and we come out even stronger on the other side of this. And we think the stock will react to that.