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As Citi cuts costs, what about all those control & technology hires?

Citi is cutting headcount. No one knows how many people are being let go yet, but Citi CEO Jane Fraser said this week that she intends to have no more than five main divisions and no more than two geographical regions. Layers of complexity are being removed. 

Citi is currently in a 30-day period of 'realigning the business', but all will become clear in early November, when details on the restructuring will be announced. The Financial Times says the cuts will be implemented early next year. 

As Citi employees wait for details to be announced, insiders say the big question is what happens to the thousands of new people the bank added to its technology, risk and compliance teams in the past few years. 

"Citi's already been in a multi-year transformation," says one managing director. "And they've added well over 10,000 people."

As we noted in April, Citi hired 8,000 technology staff alone last year. The bank has also been hiring across risk, compliance and controls after it was fined $400m in 2021 and told to improve its processes and its technology. It's spent over $1bn in the process. 

Some of its recent big hires have left already. Karen Peetz, who joined as chief administrative officer from BNY Mellon in June 2020 announced her retirement in March. Peetz, who was hired by Mike Corbat to focus on strengthening Citi's data architecture, was put in charge of the bank's transformation after the regulatory consent order. 

Senior risk professionals at other banks say it's inevitable that the bank will need to prune some of the thousands of people it added. "Citi has been on a hiring binge for several years now," says one New York risk veteran. "From my viewpoint, they are in the classic overhire-then-layoff cycle. It was only a matter of time."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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