This excerpt taken from the C 10-K filed Feb 28, 2005.
Credit Improvement Performance
During the past two years, the world-wide credit environment has continuously improved, as evidenced by declining cash-basis loan balances and lower delinquency rates. Accordingly, the Company has reduced its Allowance for Credit Losses.
During 2004, the Company released $2.004 billion of reserves, consisting of $900 million from GCIB's reserves and $1.104 billion from Global Consumer's reserves. The GCIB releases consisted of a $737 million release in Capital Markets and Banking and a $163 million release in Transaction Services. The Global Consumer releases consisted of a $691 million net release in the Cards portfolio, a $339 million net release in Retail Banking, and a $74 million net release in Consumer Finance. At December 31, 2004, the Company's total allowance for loans, leases and commitments was $11.869 billion.
During 2003, the Company released $508 million of reserves, consisting of $300 million in GCIB and $208 million in Global Consumer. At December 31, 2003, the Company's total allowance for loans, leases and commitments was $13.243 billion.
Management evaluates the adequacy of loan loss reserves by analyzing probable loss scenarios and economic and geopolitical factors that impact the portfolios. See pages 14 - 15 and pages 49 - 54 for an additional discussion of the reserve levels and credit process. See also Note 11 to Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.