Citigroup to lay off 4,500 employees, take $400 million charge

In view of the renewed global economic turmoil, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit yesterday said that the bank will lay off around 4,500 employees worldwide over the next few months, becoming the latest bank to reduce staff in order to cut costs.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference in New York yesterday, Pandit said that Citigroup will take a $400-million charge related to the layoffs in the fourth quarter.

''Financial services faces an extremely challenging operating environment with an unprecedented combination of market uncertainty, sustained economic weakness in the developed economies and the most substantial regulatory changes we have seen in our lifetimes,'' Pandit told investors during the conference.

Although he did not say where and which division the cuts would come from, Pandit said the cuts would come from a range of businesses.

Citigroup, the third-largest bank in the US, had 267,000 employees worldwide as of September.  The present job cuts will reduce the New York-based bank's work force by about 2 per cent.

Pandit said that the layoffs are part of his plan to brace the bank for an even more difficult road ahead as, ''These trends will likely significantly affect the competitive landscape in the coming years.''