Citi posts highest profit in 8 years as costs plunge

Citi reports better-than-expected results
Citi reports better-than-expected results

Citigroup delivered quarterly earnings that topped analysts' expectations on Thursday, its highest quarterly profit in eight years as restructuring efforts and cost cuts paid off and legal expenses plunged.

Net income rose to $4.85 billion, or $1.51 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from $181 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier, when the bank was hit by a $3.8 billion legal charge.

Adjusting for legal costs and some accounting items, Citi's net income rose 18 percent to $4.65 billion, or $1.45 per share, from $3.93 billion, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $19.5 billion from $19.38 billion a year ago.

Wall Street expected Citigroup to deliver quarterly earnings per share of $1.34 on $19.11 revenue, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Citigroup rose in premarket trading following the report. (Get the latest quote here.)

Citigroup earnings follow results from a few other big banks. Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase beat earnings estimates while Wells Fargo met forecasts.

The majority of analysts rate Citigroup as a "buy," according to FactSet. During the past year, shares have risen 15 percent, outperforming the S&P 500 financials sector, which has risen roughly 10 percent.

Scotiabank announced on Tuesday it would be acquiring Citigroup's retail and commercial banking operations in Panama and Costa Rica, pending regulatory approval.

While Citigroup will continue to operate in these countries, the bank hopes to focus more on its Corporate and Institutional Banking Business and International Wealth Management Services, maximizing its global reach and lead in those segments.

Reuters contributed to this report.