Citibank Korea, which had streamlined 70 percent of its outposts in Korea, reported on Tuesday that its net profit in the first quarter ended March amounted to 73 billion won ($67.8 million), up 6.7 percent from the same period a year ago and 2.1 percent from the previous quarter.
Gross profit rose 4.4 percent on year and 6.7 percent on quarter to 316.1 billion won.
The improvement in the bottom line was mostly attributed to the cost-cutting efforts and upgrade in consumer financing services, compensating for the losses in loans.
The net interest margin (NIM), a key measure for a bank’s profitability, improved by 0.08 percentage point to 2.78 percent by March compared to the previous quarter, while its non-performing loan (NPL) ratio also edged down 0.04 percentage point over the same period.
“The change in the business model of consumer banking proved our capability to sustain growth and made it possible for the profit gain to outpace cost increase,” said an official from the bank. “We generated robust sales from corporate financing and achieved outstanding performance in core businesses including wealth management, personal credit loans and credit cards.”
Citibank Korea shut down 90 branches or 70 percent of its total 126 branches since last year with focus on automation. This year, it will put efforts to improve productivity and customer services while continuing to invest in automation.
Citibank Korea posted 243.7 billion won in net profit and paid 93.9 billion won in dividends, 295 won per common share in 2017.
By Chung Joo-won and Choi Mira
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