Citigroup Inc's first-quarter profit fell 32 percent, slightly beating expectations, as the bank lost less money on bad loans but struggled to grow its business.

The third-largest U.S. bank said net revenue fell 22 percent, more than expected, to $19.7 billion, due to a slump in its securities and trading unit and tepid consumer banking results, especially in North America.

The numbers look OK relative to expectations, but it's a tough slog. I think the tepid loan growth is just confirmation of the expectations people have, said Michael Holland, chairman of money-manager Holland & Co.

Citigroup said it earned $3.0 billion, or 10 cents per share, down from $4.4 billion, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Citigroup shares rose 1.1 percent to $4.47 in premarket trading.

It is the fifth consecutive quarterly profit for Citigroup, which is slowly recovering after taking $45 billion in U.S. bailouts during the financial crisis.

By the end of 2010, the government had shed its common shares in Citigroup, and the bank reported its first annual profit since 2007.

Like other big U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp, Citigroup is struggling to grow its revenues in a volatile trading environment and amid weak consumer demand for new loans.

(Reporting by Maria Aspan; additional reporting by Joe Rauch in Charlotte, N.C.; editing by John Wallace)