|Quarterly earnings at Citigroup Inc. improved by nearly $19 billion. The improvement in originations, however, was less pronounced. Residential holdings declined and delinquency increased.
Residential originations were $22.4 billion during the first quarter, the New York-based company said today in its earnings report. Production improved from $16.6 billion in the prior quarter but was well below a revised $37.2 billion in the first-quarter 2008.
Citi's third-party servicing portfolio ended last month at $590.5 billion, tumbling from $646.6 billion at the end of last year and $645.7 billion 12 months earlier.
Residential real estate loans owned at the end of March were $193.3 billion, falling from $197.4 billion three months earlier and $217.6 billion 12 months earlier.
Delinquency of at least 90 days was 5.94 percent on March 31, climbing from 4.73% on Dec. 31, 2008, and 2.60 percent on March 31, 2008. "Other real estate owned and other repossessed assets" in North America finished the latest period at $1.0 billion, better than $1.3 billion at the end of December and $1.3 billion the previous year.
Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said in the statement that loan workouts have prevented foreclosures on $13.5 billion in mortgages.
The consumer banking operation had a $1.2 billion first-quarter loss -- vastly improving from the $10.4 billion loss in the prior quarter but worse than the slight profit in the prior year.
Across the entire conglomerate, there was a $1.6 billion first-quarter profit. Earnings improved dramatically from the $17.3 billion loss in the fourth quarter and the $5.1 billion loss during the first-quarter 2008.
Citi said it slashed around 14,000 positions in the first quarter, leaving its March 31 headcount at 309,000. The number of employees was down 60,000 from a year earlier.
Branch count at consumer finance subsidiary CitiFinancial ended the first quarter at 2,341, six fewer than at the end of the fourth quarter. Branch count stood at 2,517 as of March 31, 2008.