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Report: Feds to Reprimand Citigroup Over Risk-Management Failures

Citigroup (NYSE: C) is apparently facing disciplinary action from federal regulators. An article published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve plan to formally reprimand the bank for its risk-management systems and procedures.

Such a rebuke might take the form of a consent order, which would mandate near-immediate action for Citigroup to improve its systems. The article’s sources did not provide insight as to whether the company faces a fine or penalties for this.

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While it’s slimmed down somewhat recently, Citigroup remains a sprawling international company built on aggressive expansion and acquisition activities over the years. As a result, its risk-management regime is a hodgepodge in some practice areas and across certain regions.

The company acknowledges its shortcomings in risk management and promises to do better. “We are completely committed to improving our risk and control environment,” the Journal quoted a spokesman as saying. “However, while we have made significant and demonstrable progress in each of these areas, we recognize that we are not yet where we need to be and that has to change.”

That change has apparently been quite some time in coming. The Journal‘s sources say that, out of public view and over a span of several years, regulators have asked the bank to improve its risk-management systems, but these requests haven’t had the desired effect.

The shortcomings of Citigroup in this area were thrown under a harsh spotlight in August when it accidentally sent $900 million to a set of creditors for troubled cosmetics company Revlon. This sparked a fevered attempt by the bank to get the money back. Citigroup has blamed human error for the mishap.

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