Citigroup Is Working With Fewer Corporations, CEO Corbat Says

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat credits an unusual contributor for helping drive his bank’s turnaround: fewer clients.

The bank is now working with about 13,000 institutional clients, down from 32,000 when Corbat became CEO, he said at an Economic Club of New York event Wednesday. The narrowed scope means Citigroup is taking on less risk as it competes with traditional banks as well as financial startups.

“When we talk about our firm and the focus there, it’s as much about what you don’t do as what you do do,” Corbat said.

Citigroup took the largest bailout in U.S. banking history during the financial crisis after aggressively pursuing growth to become the largest U.S. bank, with a balance sheet above $2 trillion, before nearly collapsing.

The bank has been working to move past that history. Last year, it unveiled plans to ask regulators to allow it to return at least $60 billion to shareholders by 2020.

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