Thursday, May 22, 2008

CitiGroup, Inc. Credit Division Must Be Flat Broke

Standing there with my large corporate clients today I presented a Citigroup credit card to purchase a large office computer printer. The price of the printer and some additional supplies represented less than half the available credit on the card. The full balance on that card had been paid automatically by direct deposit only days earlier.

The clerk told me that my card had been denied for insufficient credit. I told him there must be some mistake, please try the purchase again. He came back with the same response. My clients looked at me and figured I must be having some sort of money problems. I sort of felt like I was 30 years younger and off at college again.

No wonder Citigroup stock shares (C:NYSE) are down 26% for the year to-date. They need to close up shop if they cannot honor the credit cards they have already issued. I am surprised the new wealthy owners of many Citigroup, Inc. shares, based in Abu Dhabi, have not discovered this major weakness at their latest investment.

I just happened to have my most recent statement from Citigroup in my case. The statement also indicated the balance was paid in-full for less than $400 in purchases made last month. I carry over no debt whatsoever from month to month on any credit card.

New York City 18662

Luckily, I also carry another major credit card. The same purchase, using the exact same personal information cleared instantly on the other firm's card.

I still have received no call from Citigroup regarding this purchase on my phone. This number is clearly listed on the credit card account information. So not only does Citigroup appear to not have enough money to cover a credit card purchase for less than half of a business holder's credit limit but they seem to have fired all the humans that follow-up on such activity. So there are few credit card employees and no more money left at Citigroup, not a good sign at all for a once-respected New York institution.

It seems Citigroup, Inc. must be so short of cash from the recent Sub-Prime mortgage crisis that they cannot clear basic credit card purchases for established business customers in good-standing. This is not a good sign for Citigroup or for any U.S. firms that depend on Citigroup's financial well-being! Time to look for a new bank credit card for your employees that travel. I found a better credit card offer, with a higher limit, at a competing bank within hours of my return to the office. You can guess where the Citigroup credit card is going, the same place the associated bank is going, down the tubes!

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