My Account

Remarks by CEO Jane Fraser at Citi’s 2024 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting

April 30, 2024

As prepared for delivery

Thank you, John, and a very warm welcome to our shareholders joining us from all over the U.S. and around the world. Today, I look forward to updating you on the progress we’re making to ensure Citi delivers to its full potential for all stakeholders, including you, our investors.

Over the past three years, we have put the foundations in place for a simpler, better connected and more competitive bank. We have been executing the strategy we laid out at our 2022 Investor Day with urgency. We are making meaningful strides in our Transformation by strengthening our risk and controls and data. And we’re implementing technology that will modernize the bank and make us more competitive in the long term. At the same time, we continue to instill a culture of excellence and accountability to ensure we remain aligned with the interests of our shareholders. This is, nonetheless, a multi-year journey.

In September, we took the next significant step to fulfill Citi’s potential, announcing the most consequential set of changes to how we run the firm in two decades. We have since put in place a leaner, more agile structure that fully aligns to and facilitates our strategy. We’ve stripped out management layers, removed needless complexity and simplified processes. This is enabling us to run the company more efficiently and is freeing up our people to focus on execution and ensure we deliver Citi’s unparalleled global network to our clients.

I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last year. We’ve proven that our model is built to adapt to a changing macro environment and uncertain geopolitical landscape. And we continue to demonstrate that we have the discipline to deliver what we said we would deliver.

Whilst a number of notable one-time items in the fourth quarter negatively impacted our earnings for 2023, we had a solid performance for the full year. We are on track to meet the financial targets we set at Investor Day. That includes achieving an 11-to-12% RoTCE in the medium term.

For the year, we earned $9.2 billion in net income on revenues of $78.5 billion, and we ended 2023 with an RoTCE of 4.9%. We increased our CET1 capital ratio to approximately 13.4%. And we returned roughly $6 billion in capital to our shareholders through common dividends and share repurchases.

As you know, our vision is to be the preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross border needs, a global leader in wealth and a valued personal bank in our home market.  Amongst the many benefits of our recent changes, we now are able to provide shareholders with far greater transparency into the drivers and performance of our five businesses and how they’re helping us realize our vision for Citi. So, let me take a few minutes to share the progress we’re achieving in each.

I’ll begin with Services, the heart of our global network, which had a record year in 2023 and has already exceeded the medium-term targets we set for the franchise. We remain the undisputed industry leader in Treasury & Trade Solutions for large institutions, owing in part to our relentless focus on innovation. Whilst this business has benefitted from higher rates, we have also won new clients and deepened relationships with existing ones, which has led to growth across key drivers, including cross-border transactions, US dollar clearing volumes, commercial card volumes and trade loans. Given these underlying factors, I am confident we will see core revenue growth in the mid-single-digits from this point forward, even in a lower-rate environment. Securities Services also had a strong year, with new client onboarding contributing to growth in assets under custody and administration. And I’m looking forward to showing the power of this combined franchise when we hold a special Investor Day for Services in June.

Markets remains one of our key profit engines, driven by a leading position in Fixed Income. We are making strides in our Equities business, notably increasing balances in Prime. The Markets business is well-positioned with our corporate clients, and we have taken actions to improve returns by redeploying capital to higher-returning products. We also fully integrated our financing and securitization capabilities within our Markets business and we’re starting to see the benefits of having a unified spread product offering for clients.

Growing our Banking franchise is another key piece of our strategy — and a business where we see much upside. The investments we are making in high-growth sectors such as healthcare and technology put us in a good position as market sentiment improves and activity picks up. With Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and Commercial Banking now under one umbrella, we can better realize the synergies between them and deliver the full power of Citi to all our clients around the globe.  We also are delighted to welcome Vis Raghavan to the firm in June to lead the franchise, and we look forward to the added intensity he will no doubt bring.

Wealth has the potential to be a terrific business for Citi. With nearly $100 trillion in new wealth creation expected by 2030, the opportunity is enormous and plays to our strengths. Andy Sieg, who came onboard to lead Wealth late last year, is quickly forming his team and is focused on three areas to get our returns to where they need to be: First, rationalizing the expense base… Second, turning on the growth engine by focusing on investment revenues… and third, enhancing our platforms and capabilities to elevate the client experience. In the last quarter, we began to see some early momentum in our efforts to increase investment assets across regions, with non-interest revenue up 11% year-over-year.

Finally, U.S. Personal Banking. We feel very good about our position as a prime, lend-centric issuer. In a competitive and growing space, we are pushing ahead with new products and innovations and deepening our co-brand relationships to drive loyalty and engagement. Last year, for example, we re-launched our travel booking site, Citi Travel, in partnership with In Retail Services, we’ve launched several new products including Citi Pay installment loans, and we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our strong partnership with The Home Depot. We also continue to drive more value from our Retail Bank and introduced Simplified Banking, which enables customers to unlock enhanced benefits automatically.

With our focus firmly on our five core businesses, we are firmly down the path to exiting all our remaining consumer banking franchises outside the U.S., which account for approximately 25% of our employee base. We have now closed the sales of nine of those 14 franchises and have made solid progress winding down consumer operations in China, Russia and South Korea. We restarted the sales process in Poland, and we are well down the path to the Mexico IPO in 2025. With the progress we’ve made in our divestitures, we now serve a far more targeted set of clients around the world that have strong synergies across our interconnected businesses.

This year is a pivotal one for improving our revenue mix, reducing our expenses and creating long-term value for our shareholders — and our financial results from the first quarter showed that we are off to a good start. We reported net income of approximately $3.4 billion, or earnings per share of $1.58. We had an RoTCE of 7.6% on over $21 billion of revenues.

We will continue to execute with discipline, simplify our processes and ensure every business is working together to deliver the best of Citi to our clients. With our new structure in place, the leaders of our five businesses now sit at my leadership table, giving them greater influence on our strategy and greater accountability for their results. It also ensures they are accountable for every aspect of the client experience within their respective business.

By moving to a more focused geographic and business management structure, we have reduced internal financial management reports. Our streamlined structure also ensures we are nimbler and faster in our decision making, all for the benefit of our clients and execution. To strengthen client delivery even further, we created the Client organization. This new organization is charged with looking horizontally across the firm to make sure we are directing our resources to the client segments with the most upside and that we are delivering with excellence to every single client.

We know that to truly simplify Citi and unlock our firm’s full potential we need to continue investing in our Transformation. This is our multi-year effort to strengthen our risk and controls environment and modernize our infrastructure and data architecture. It remains our number one priority. In 2023, we retired 6% of our legacy platforms for the second year in a row — a trend we continued in the first quarter of 2024. Our controls are more robust, and by automating processes, they’re getting better and faster.  For example, booking or amending loans in North America now takes half the time it once did.

Now, a Transformation of this magnitude is never linear. So, whilst we are seeing progress in many areas, there are still places where we have work to do as we address issues that span over two decades.  This year we are intensifying our efforts to strengthen our regulatory reporting processes and related data remediation — and we will do whatever it takes to get these right.

Beyond the important work we’re doing within our firm, we continue to play an important role for our clients as they navigate their biggest challenges and capture opportunities for growth and progress.  This is especially true in our work on climate change and net zero:  We support our clients in financing their transitions to low-carbon business models and innovating clean technologies. At the same time, we support clients who supply ample and affordable energy to meet the world’s current and future needs in a responsible manner. These activities are not mutually exclusive and must be addressed simultaneously.

As part of our $1 trillion sustainable finance goal, we have financed and facilitated more than $440 billion in environmental and social finance activity since 2020. We financed nearly $6.5 billion in U.S. affordable housing in 2023, making us the number one affordable housing lender in our home market for the 14th year in a row.

Expanding economic opportunity continues to be central to our mission and will remain integral to our business in the decades ahead. Last year, we exceeded the goals we set as part of our $1 billion Action for Racial Equity Initiative. And we keep going… We continue to deepen partnerships with minority-owned depository institutions and others in the public and private sectors to increase financial inclusion. We also earned a spot on the Billion Dollar Roundtable as a U.S.-based corporation that voluntarily spends $1 billion or more annually with certified diverse suppliers. We believe this is good for business.

We are on a deliberate journey to unlock our firm’s full potential, and we’ve made some bold decisions over the last three years to ensure we succeed. Our vision is clear. The strategy is set. The pieces are in place. A performance intensity is building.  With the major changes to our organizational structure behind us, we can now put our full focus on executing the Transformation and improving business performance. I am confident that Citi is on the right path to meet our medium-term financial targets and deliver all the benefits of our firm to our stakeholders.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to answering your questions later in the meeting.