Citigroup Setting $600 Million Aside for Legal Fees
Citigroup Inc announced it would set aside another $600 million for legal fees during the third quarter because of rapidly evolving inquires involving regulators. The banking group also disclosed it was subject to probes dealing with foreign exchange.
The bank is one of the six major banks that likely will settle with the Financial Conduct Authority of Britain by the middle of November over its allegations that those banks manipulated the foreign exchange markets.
The bank wants to settle for a total of £1.5 billion or about $2.42 billion. Barclays another of those six banks has said it was setting aside £500 million for its third quarter for the potential fines.
Large banks in recent years have paid large sums of dollars in the billions to settle investigations into mortgage lending, interest rate and commodities trading and a myriad of other transactions.
Authorities have been broadly trying to hold the banks accountable for many of the excesses that were responsible for the deep financial crisis.
While legal costs hit profits, weigh on the stock prices and consume time of management, they have yet to force any bank to raise money through issuing shares and they are not expected to have to.
For example, Citigroup likely will make close to $28 billion in profits before taxes over the upcoming five quarters, which is much more than is needed to cover its legal expenses.
The shares of the bank dropped 2% on the news after it revised its net income down to just $2.84 billion from the amount of $3.44 billion that had been posted in mid-October.
On a basis per share, Citigroup adjusted its profit to 88 cents per share for the third quarter. It had reported earlier at $1.07.
Like the majority of banks Citigroup keeps the amount it sets aside, to cover its legal expenses private. One research company estimated that prior to the announcement on Thursday, Citigroup had reserves of over $2.5 billion as of September 30.
After the bank announced the increased legal expense Thursday, it said it in a quarterly SEC filing that it estimated its legal cost to be in excess of its $5 billion litigation reserves.
The bank is facing the possibility of additional settlements. Investigations are taking place by federal authorities into the possibility of money laundering through Banamex USA. Its Mexican part of the business with Banamex has had a number of problems including rogue trading and fraudulent loans.
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