Citigroup Inc posted a fourth-quarter loss of $7.6 billion after taking charges linked to repaying government funds.

The third-largest U.S. bank said the loss amounted to 33 cents a share, compared with a loss of $17.3 billion, or $3.40 a share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

The loss matched analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Citigroup shares were unchanged in premarket trading at $3.42.

The bank set aside $8.2 billion in the quarter to cover bad loans and other losses, down 36 percent from a year earlier.

Citigroup is the second major U.S. bank to report fourth-quarter results. JPMorgan Chase & Co posted a quarterly profit of $3.3 billion last week, helped by rising fixed-income trading revenue, but suffered deep losses on U.S. mortgage and credit card loans, which disappointed many investors.

Citigroup has been struggling to return to profitability in its main lending businesses after posting more than $100 billion of credit losses and writedowns. Although the bank posted a profit for 2009, $6.7 billion came from selling a controlling stake in its Smith Barney business.

Citigroup shares fell more than 50 percent in 2009, while the KBW Bank index <.BKX>, a broader measure of banks, fell 3.6 percent.

(Reporting by Dan Wilchins; editing by John Wallace)