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Citi takes another step away from mortgages as originations fall

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Citigroup’s residential mortgage originations declined 23% and its home-loan revenue dropped by 35% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, as the company continued to distance itself from home loans.

Citi’s residential mortgage production dropped to $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to $3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017. Its residential mortgage revenue, which totaled $128 million in 4Q18, was down from $197 million in 4Q17.

On a consecutive-quarter basis, single-family mortgage originations were down 15% in the fourth quarter of last year. Citi’s mortgage production totaled $2.7 billion in the third quarter of 2018. Mortgage revenue between October and December of last year was down 4% from $134 million between July and September in 2018.

With funding costs rising as volumes have fallen, mortgages have produced lower returns than other assets Citi invests in, and the company has been distancing itself from the home-loan business.

The company sold off the vast majority of its primary mortgage servicing and integrated its home-loan business with its retail bank unit last year.

The company’s remaining third-party mortgage servicing portfolio totaled $45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 4% from $47 billion in 4Q18. On a consecutive-quarter basis, the size of that portfolio was largely unchanged.

As Citi has moved away from mortgages, its consumer banking unit has inched further into other retail services, which were collectively up 6% year-over-year.

Overall, the company’s earnings were up 14% from a year ago at $4.2 billion, or $1.61 per share. Citi’s results exceeded analysts’ estimates by nearly 4%, according to a Zacks Equity Research report.

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