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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:38 PM

Frugality Is The New Reality At Citigroup

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Citigroup has hopped on the large and ever-growing frugality bandwagon. Please consider Citigroup Limits Meetings, Pares Color Photocopies.

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, banned off-site meetings among employees and cut back on color photocopying to reduce expenses as investment- banking revenue declines.

Executives in the New York-based bank's institutional clients group will need to ensure spending is "highly efficient," according to an internal memorandum confirmed by a Citigroup spokesman in London today.

Citigroup is clamping down on spending after cutting about 14,000 jobs in the first half of 2008 and reporting $55 billion of writedowns and credit losses, more than any other bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue at the company's corporate and investment bank plunged 71 percent in the second quarter because of losses on subprime-related assets.

Under the new policy, employee meetings must be held within Citigroup offices and client events will require approval, the memo said. Color photocopiers will be removed from some locations and their use will be limited to client presentations. The memo didn't say how much money the new rules will save.

"We have spent considerable time looking at our headcount and related expense, and while we have made progress in that area, we still have more work to do," the memo said.

Citigroup is also scaling back external training, which will be limited to that which is "strictly necessary," the memo said. Purchases of computer hardware and software must also be pre-approved under the new rules, as must all non-client travel, the bank said. The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported the contents of the memo earlier today.

"We will be conducting a review of our Blackberry usage," Citigroup said. "In the interim, all new Blackberries will require pre-approval."
Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Opt For Frugality

The article also points out restrictions on meals and taxi tipping at Deutsche Bank, and a hiring freeze and jet usage restrictions at Merrill Lynch.

Changes in behavior begin with changes in attitudes. And there's no better place to build a proper attitude than in the youth of America. And the youth of America have spoken: It's Cool to Be Frugal.

The Future Is Frugality and that future is now

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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