Citigroup Chief Executive Charles Prince said the recent market pullback feels sharp, but he is bullish on the bank's growth, the New York Times reported on its Web site on Friday.
We see a lot of people on the Street who are scared, the Times quoted Prince as saying in an interview. We are not scared. We are not panicked. We are not rattled. Our team has been through this before.
He told the Times, I think our performance is going to last much longer than the market turbulence does.
Prince said that investors who used to snap up leveraged loans with easy terms are now on the sidelines as the market shakes itself out and probably will for a period of time. But he told the paper that the businesses that are borrowing the money are doing fine.
We have had a period of great liquidity excess, Prince was quoted as saying. What we are seeing now is a pullback into a range of more normal kinds of credit experiences.
Investors worry that deteriorating borrowing conditions will saddle lenders with too many soured home loans and higher-risk bridge loans, which are used to help fund corporate buyouts.
Deals are happening. Financing is occurring, the Times quoted Prince as saying. But it is occurring not in the lax kind of way or excess kind of way but in ways that have been more traditional.
Prince also said he was forging ahead with plans for a leaner company and to accelerate growth.
He has been trying to cut costs and boost revenue, especially overseas, amid pressure from shareholders demanding a higher stock price. He told the paper that the company was rethinking its investment strategy internationally.
Citigroup has no plans to pull out of the countries it operates in but will focus on a smaller number of them where it can build market share, the paper reported.
Prince also wants more people from abroad to fill senior management positions and serve on the board, the Times said.