Tags: Citigroup | dump | bad | assets

Goldman Analyst to Citi: Dump Your Bad Assets

Thursday, 01 Nov 2012 08:43 AM

By Dan Weil

Since the financial crisis, big banks have been playing a game of kick the can down the road with their bad assets.

They don’t want to dump too many of the toxins at once because that would hit profits hard. But at Citigroup anyway, executives should step up to the plate, says Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Ramsden, according to Fortune.

Ramsden thinks Citi should jettison $80 billion of bad assets by year-end, or about double the amount Citi's ex-CEO Vikram Pandit had planned. Pandit was replaced by Michael Corbat two weeks ago.

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

Most of the bad assets have lingered since the financial crisis — bad loans and businesses like subprime lending and mortgage payment collection that Citi, the nation’s third largest bank, wants to exit, Fortune reports.

The toxins are a much bigger problem for Citi than for its competitors, Ramsden says.

The best strategy to liquidate might be selling the assets one by one, he says. That risks losses, of course, but Citi might suffer more by keeping the assets.

Distressed-asset investors might be happy to take the stuff off Citi’s hands.

While the kick-the-can down-the-road strategy has been denigrated by many pundits, it makes some sense.

It would be nice for banks to rid themselves of all bad assets in one fell swoop. But such a move would push prices for those assets down. And taking the earnings hit all at once could cause the banks a multitude of woe.

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

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