Layoffs at Citi?

NEW YORK (AP) – Citigroup Inc., bracing for big credit-related losses in the fourth quarter, is looking to lower costs — which could mean another round of job cuts at the nation's largest bank.

“We are engaged in a planning process in anticipation of our new CEO, and our business heads are planning ways in which we can be more efficient and cost-effective to position our businesses in line with economic realities,” said Citi spokeswoman Shannon Bell.

She was responding to a report on CNBC that “massive” layoffs were planned.

“Any reports on specific numbers are not factual,” she said.

Citigroup, which has about 320,000 employees, earlier this year reduced its workforce by 17,000 before the credit crisis.
    Its shares fell 69 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $31.01 in late morning trading Monday.

The bank is still looking for a new CEO, after Charles Prince stepped down as chairman and chief executive Nov. 4, the same evening the bank announced that it will likely write down the value of its portfolio by another $8 billion to $11 billion in the fourth quarter.

In the third quarter, Citi's subprime mortgages and its exposure to financial instruments tied to those mortgages led to a loss of about $6.5 billion.

Prince was replaced as chairman by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and as interim CEO by Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of Citi Europe who has said he doesn't want the job permanently.

Prince hasn't been the only Citigroup executive to leave the bank since it warned of big losses in early October.

Tom Maheras, co-CEO of investment banking, and Randy Barker, head of fixed income trading, left in mid-October when Vikram Pandit was promoted to lead a unit that combined the markets and banking segment with alternative investments. Pandit had been put in charge of alternative investments in the spring when Citigroup bought the hedge fund he co-founded.

And nearly two weeks after Prince's resignation, chief risk officer Dave Bushnell announced his retirement. Bushnell was a 22-year Citi veteran whom Prince promoted to chief administrative officer in September, saying he would only be senior risk officer for a “transitional period of time.” Jorge A. Bermudez, who has been with Citi for 30 years, took Bushnell's place.