Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Citigroup's consumer business set aside more serve

--The company's U.S. consumer business could be another source of pain. Citigroup surprised Wall Street yesterday by taking a $4.1 billion hit in order to set aside more money to cover possible future defaults on mortgages, home-equity loans, credit cards and auto loans -- areas in which the bank is seeing more borrowers fall behind on their payments. --Citigroup said those beefed-up reserves should be enough to cover 22 months worth of loan losses -- as long as they stay at current levels. But many industry observers expect a leap in defaults on credit-card and auto loans, where credit quality so far has remained solid. If that happens, Citigroup likely will be forced to bite the bullet and set aside additional reserves.

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