This excerpt taken from the C 10-K filed Feb 28, 2005.
GLOBAL CONSUMER OUTLOOK
Certain of the statements below are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. See "Forward-Looking Statements" on page 73.
During 2005, the Global Consumer businesses will continue to focus on tight expense control and productivity improvements. While the businesses will also focus on expanding the base of stable and recurring revenues and managing credit risk, revenue and credit performance will also be impacted by U.S. and global economic conditions, including the level of interest rates, bankruptcy filings and unemployment rates, as well as political policies and developments around the world. The Company remains diversified across a number of geographies, product groups, and customer segments and continues to monitor the economic situation in all of the countries in which it operates.
CardsIn 2004, Cards reported record income of $4.7 billion, an increase of 31% over 2003, while benefiting from the 2003 acquisitions of the Home Depot and Sears and the 2004 acquisition of KorAm. In 2005, Cards expects to deliver strong earnings growth as managed receivables continue to grow and expenses remain controlled through improved productivity levels and scale opportunities. In 2005, Citi Cards expects continued income and managed receivables growth through continued brand development, private-label expansion, new product launches, and organic growth, despite the continuation of a challenging competitive environment. Consistent with changes in industry practice based on regulatory guidance, during 2005, Citi Cards will change the minimum payment calculation for its credit card accounts. This change is likely to result in an increase in delinquencies and credit loss experience. In Mexico, the Company will continue to leverage the expertise and experience of the global Cards franchise, with increased sales and loan volumes and productivity improvements. International Cards is also expecting strong earnings growth in 2005 with a focus on expanding the revenue base through growth in sales, receivables, and accounts while continuing to invest in both new and existing markets.
Consumer FinanceIn 2004, Consumer Finance reported record income of $2.4 billion, an improvement of 21% from 2003, largely reflecting organic growth, the 2004 acquisition of the Washington Mutual Finance Corporation portfolio, and strong international growth outside of Japan. In North America, CitiFinancial expects to deliver income growth through growth in receivables by expanding customer reach and a continued focus on expense management. In the international markets, growth in 2005 will continue to be impacted by the challenging operating environment in Japan. The Japan business regained stability in 2004, as loss rates improved, expenses were reduced through repositioning, and the pressure on loan volumes eased. In 2005, Japan is expected to continue to improve, as loss rates and expenses remain well controlled, and customer volumes show moderate growth. In other international markets, important growth opportunities are anticipated as we continue to focus on gaining market share through branch expansion and other organic activities in both new and established markets including India, Mexico, Poland, Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Retail BankingIn 2004, Retail Banking reported record income of $4.6 billion, an increase of 14% from 2003, reflecting strong customer volumes, improved loss rates, and the acquisition of KorAm, partially offset by reduced earnings in the North America Prime Home Finance business in line with market conditions. In 2005, Retail Banking expects to deliver growth in core businesses driven by the benefits of investment spending, continuing to expand our footprint through branch expansion, the 2005 acquisition of First American Bank, which is pending regulatory approval, and by penetration into select markets, such as the growing Hispanic banking market.
In 2005, Retail Distribution will continue to enhance its franchise by emphasizing increased sales productivity in the financial centers, deeper customer relationships through cross-selling and wealth management initiatives, and further investments in technology that drive cost efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction. The Commercial Business will continue to expand in serving the needs of small businesses and professionals, through lending, banking, and leasing activities. Prime Home Finance is expected to achieve growth by continuing to leverage Citigroup distribution channels while aligning the cost structure of the business to reflect lower mortgage origination volumes. The Student Loans business will continue to benefit from the strong Citi brand and best-in-class sales platforms and technology. Primerica expects to sustain momentum in recruiting and production volumes through focused product offerings, sales and product training programs, and continued dedication to its cross-selling relationships, while further developing its international presence. The Retail Banking business in Mexico expects to drive growth through new loan, deposit, and investment products while continuing to improve operating margins. The international markets are expected to build upon the investments in both new and established markets and deliver strong results through a continued focus on distribution channels, product innovation, and customer support.