Citi to pay $590 million to investorsAugust 29, 2012: 3:02 PM ET
Bank has paid out or agreed to $2.3 billion in penalties related to the financial crisis in the past year.
The bank will pay $590 million to investors who bought the company's stock in the run-up to the financial crisis. The payment settles a class action lawsuit in which the bank's shareholders claimed Citi's management misled investors about the health of the bank in 2007 and 2008. Citi went on to receive more than $40 billion in taxpayer assistance in late 2008 as part of the TARP bailout fund.
Citi denies it did anything wrong, but said it was in the best interests of the bank to settle. The settlement is still subject to court approval, which has tripped up Citi in the past. In a statement, the bank said it has improved its risk management. It also reiterated that the bank plans to return to "the basics of banking," which has been a common refrain recently for Citi CEO Vikram Pandit.
The settlement appears to be part of Citi's stepped up to resolve its remaining financial crisis legal bills. In the past year, alone, Citi has agreed to $2.3 billion in payouts or penalties. The firm says it could face an additional $4 billion in legal bills, but not all of those cases are tied to the housing bust and its aftermath. Citi recently said that it has received inquiries from US and foreign regulators relating to the key lending rate LIBOR, which many contend was manipulated by giant banks.
Earlier this year, Citi agreed to $1.4 billion in penalties to settle claims that it, along with other banks, had mistreated homeowners facing foreclosure. On Wednesday, the monitor overseeing the national mortgage settlement said Citi had completed $54 million in mortgage debt reductions as part of the deal.
Citi also agreed to pay $158 million to federal authorities earlier this year to settle claims that it tricked a government mortgage program into insuring loans that were not eligible for the program. Citi also agreed to pay $285 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges related to a mortgage bond that Citi sold to investors and bet against at the same time. That settlement was initially rejected by a judge, and is still pending review.
While big, the $590 million seems like a good deal for Citi. The settlement covers investors who bought bank's stock from February 2007 to April 2008, a period in which Citi's shares plunged 48%, resulting in a collective $140 billion loss for investors.