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Citigroup Will Have To Sell More Assets: Whitney

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2009 | 4:31 PM ET

Citigroup will have to sell more of its assets to stay in business, well-known banking analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC Tuesday.

Whitney made her comment after being asked about Citi's Chief Executive Vikram Pandit saying he was confident about the troubled bank's survival prospects.

Meredith Whitney
Meredith Whitney

"Citi's capital position is stronger relative to how it was," said Whitney. "But I wouldn’t call it strong."

Whitney, who is founder of Meredith Whitney Advisors, said that the bank has exposures across the board and said that "I'm not optimistic about them."

"Trillions of dollars of loans have been mispriced by Citi", said Whitney. "By my math, they don’t make money in any of their businesses."

Whitney says Citigroup will be forced to sell their "crown jewels" if they are going to get any more bailout money from the government. "They're going to have a 'yard sale.' They will be a smaller and less of an international business going forward," says Whitney.

Citi split off its prized Smith Barney brokerage on Janury 13th.

Since October of last year, Citigroup has received two federal bailouts, $45 billion of capital from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, and a government agreement to cap losses on $300.8 billion of troubled assets.

Whitney: The Next Crunch
Credit cards could be the next shoe to drop, with Meredith Whitney, Meredith Whitney Advisory Group CEO and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo.

On the topic of keeping mark-to-market rules, Whitney said that it's basically a non-factor and that the damage has already been done. Whitney says that the banks don't want to have it suspended because if for some reason, the market comes back "they don’t get the benefit of the newer market."

Whitney also said that the government is trying to sweeten deals for the private sector in order to get more cash infusions into U.S. banks. "The government cannot do it alone," said Whitney. "They need the private sector to come back."

Whitney also commented on the credit card crisis she's been predicting. She said that credit cards are the next credit crunch and said that banks' portfolios continue to shrink and when you shrink the portfolios for the banks, "credit losses eat into earnings and they have to peddle faster to collect on loans and they make less money and lose money."

Whitney revised her estimate for credit card line cuts to more than $2 trillion inside of 2009 and $2.7 trillion by end of 2010.

Whitney has previously said the credit line cuts would be $2 trillion by the end of 2010.

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