Citigroup: Great Speculation for Five Years (No Idea After That)

Citigroup (C) lost $64.20 per share in 2008. Its Tier 1 Capital Ratio sank below 5%, and it had a portfolio worth hundreds of billions of dollars in loans that it did not originally underwrite that were lent out to people that were terrible risk-adjusted customers over the full course of the business cycle because they would stop payments during the downturn and never pay again. And the commercial loan portfolio wasn’t much better. Large depositors got spooked about the rumors of these non-payments, and started switching their global banking activities to firms on sturdier ground like The Northern Trust. The bank received an immediate $25 billion in taxpayer funds, and then engaged in the disastrous act of quadrupling the share count to stay alive–amputating two legs and two arms to stay alive.

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