Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational investment banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group in October 1998 (announced on April 7, 1998). As of January 2015, it is the third largest bank holding company in the US by assets. Its largest shareholders include funds from the Middle East and Singapore. At its height until the global financial crisis of 2008, Citigroup was the largest company and bank in the world as measured by total assets, with 357,000 employees. In 2007, Citigroup was one of the primary dealers in US Treasury securities. Citigroup had the world's largest financial services network, spanning 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices worldwide. It holds over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries.
Citigroup suffered huge losses during the global financial crisis of 2008 and was rescued in November 2008 in a massive stimulus package by the U.S. government. On February 27, 2009, Citigroup announced that the U.S. government would take a 36% equity stake in the company by converting US$25 billion in emergency aid into common stock with a US Treasury credit line of $45 billion to prevent the bankruptcy of the largest bank in the world at the time. The government guaranteed losses on more than $300 billion troubled assets and injected $20 billion immediately into the company. In exchange, the salary of the CEO was set at $1 per year and the highest salary of employees was restricted to $500,000 in cash. Any compensation amount above $500,000 had to be paid with restricted stock that could not be sold by the employee until the emergency government aid was repaid in full. The U.S. government also gained control of half the seats in the Board of Directors, and the senior management was subjected to removal by the US government if there were poor performance. By December 2009, the U.S. government stake was reduced from a 36% stake to a 27% stake, after Citigroup sold $21 billion of common shares and equity in the largest single share sale in U.S. history, surpassing Bank of America's $19 billion share sale one month prior. By December 2010, Citigroup repaid the emergency aid in full and the U.S. government received an additional $12 billion profit in selling its shares. US Government restrictions on pay and oversight of the senior management were removed after the US government sold its remaining 27% stake as of December 2010.
As of 2009, Citigroup was one of the Big Four banks in the United States, with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
As of June 2012, the year of Citi's 200th anniversary, Citigroup had built up an enormous cash reserve in the wake of the financial crisis with $420 billion in surplus liquid cash and government securities. As of Q1 2012, Citi had a tier 1 capital ratio of 12.4%, making Citi one of the best-capitalized financial institutions in the world after billions of dollars in losses from the financial crisis. This was a result of selling more than $500 billion of its special assets placed in Citi Holdings, which were guaranteed from losses by the US Treasury while under federal majority ownership. A special IRS tax exception given to Citi allowed the US Treasury to sell its shares at a profit, while it still owned Citigroup shares, which eventually netted $12 billion. According to Treasury spokeswoman Nayyera Haq, "This (IRS tax) rule was designed to stop corporate raiders from using loss corporations to evade taxes, and was never intended to address the unprecedented situation where the government owned shares in banks. And it was certainly not written to prevent the government from selling its shares for a profit." In 2012, Citigroup ranked 20th in size under the Fortune 500 list. In comparison, JPMorgan Chase, which ranked 16th, was the largest bank in US.