Things are not good when your new CEO’s priority number one is to “stop destroying our shareholders’ capital.” But The Wall Street Journal isn’t above kicking a bank when it’s down.

The latest weak point to be splashed on the cover of the C Section is Citi’s retail banking operation, which is still in the hands of one of Vikram Pandit’s cronies and which has the highest average deposits per branch of top lenders but which may or may not still keep track of customer accounts longhand. Plus, there’s this compelling anecdote in the lede:

Adam Greenfield has been a Citibank customer for 15 years, but he has grown frustrated with what he calls its poor service and “tone deaf” efforts to sell him new products.

After Mr. Greenfield’s account at the Citigroup unit was compromised late last year, he decided he had enough. Now, Mr. Greenfield, who runs an urban-design practice in Manhattan, is looking for a new bank.

“I never found that they particularly cared about me,” he said.

Unsurprisingly for a bank so “tone-deaf,” Citi was not interested in commenting on the experience of a single (soon-to-be-former) client.

But read on: There’s an antiquated computer system that won’t be upgraded until next year; some cutbacks in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas; and higher costs than at other retail banks. There’s also some evidence contrary to the thesis:

The unit earned $231 million in the fourth quarter, a 41% increase from the same period a year earlier but a 32% drop from the third quarter of 2012.

A Citibank spokeswoman said the North American retail bank has shown improvements in other ways.

It finished 2012 with the highest checking balances, the highest annualized checking growth and the lowest attrition in five years. Acquisition of new customers was the highest since 2009.

“We’re not where we want to be by any means, but we are making progress,” Ms. Stewart said in a recent interview.

No matter, say unnamed sources.

Now, the pressure is mounting on Ms. Stewart to deliver results, according to analysts and company insiders.

And the branches are so much less cozy than the WaMu sites that Chase took over.

Citi Still Lagging in Retail Overhaul [WSJ]

28 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (28)

  1. Posted by BelzeBubba | January 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Shaz vs Matt in a fight to the death.

    Who will win?

  2. Posted by MSucks | January 24, 2013 at 3:04 PM


  3. Posted by Guest | January 24, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Does anyone else find this title ironic?

    -Guy questioning Shazar's career choice

  4. Posted by Back door guest | January 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM


    Two part question
    Did you actually get paid for this post?
    Did it really take you all day to write it?

  5. Posted by Bejujular | January 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I'm trying to guess what the point of this post is?

    Is it that Jon is a terrible "writer"?

  6. Posted by Guest | January 24, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    It is an advertisement for Blowfish for hangovers…

  7. Posted by Inner Matt Thoughts | January 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Shazar has Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'n Out on DVD

  8. Posted by Other Guest | January 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I'm questioning calling what Shaz does a "career"

  9. Posted by Shazgay | January 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Given Vikram's general contempt of female management I wouldn't go so far as to assume she's one of his "cronies" (see: Old Lane).

    And an antiquated computer network! Such breaking news Jon, good scoop. JPMorgan's triparty repo platforms, on which the entire banking system relies, are leftovers from Manufacturer's Hanover and Chemical Bank and they still crank out my allocations on command. It's industry-wide.

    I also wouldn't throw stones about shitty IT systems given the technical performance of this site since since you showed up, champ.

  10. Posted by Flo | January 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    What would ya say…ya do here?

    – The Bobs

  11. Posted by Jon Shazar | January 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Guys, please cool it. I'm trying my best.

    You don't know what it's like!

  12. Posted by Puck It | January 24, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Dealbreaker readers, actually

  13. Posted by guest | January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    He is as bad as the gay Cuban poet at the Obama inauguration.

  14. Posted by WTF__k | January 24, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Only if Matt wins.

  15. Posted by Hobbes | January 24, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    I don't know about you Jon, but I was taught to never start a sentence with the word 'but' in elementary school.

  16. Posted by Bejujular | January 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    I think it's a bit charitable to describe anything up there as a sentence.

  17. Posted by guest | January 24, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    a simple "wrong" would've done just fine.


  18. Posted by 10xLevered | January 24, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    I got you Shazar. You got pretty pumped up by the positive response you got on your first Citi dig and you thought "Wow! This writing thing is really easy! The Dealbreaker commentariat loves me!" And then you go ahead and try to rehash the same shit. But worse.

  19. Posted by guesticles | January 24, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    If you are bundling DB posts into tranches, how can I make sure the Shazar stuff is sold to UBS again?

  20. Posted by Freedom of Speech | January 24, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    You disgust me.

  21. Posted by Guest | January 24, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Wait, I thought that Citi was only good at destroying shareholder capital? I'm pretty sure we have solid evidence that they have that down to a science

  22. Posted by Guest | January 25, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    I suspect that was Shazer.

  23. Posted by borrrrred | January 25, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Kicking them in the Z's huh ?

  24. Posted by sohbet odalari | February 20, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    goods blogs thankssadasd

  25. Posted by cinsel chat | March 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Bgzaristan b baazen cokul uunna god very

  26. Posted by seks sohbet | March 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    p by the positive response y una mezcla de alumnio y manganeso (

  27. Posted by sohbet odalari | April 26, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    now much of financial/banking subject. Citigroup as in Citibank?

  28. Posted by sohbet | July 8, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    officers to investigate Blackstone's fishy financial transactions, but they wound up giving them