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Citi's Relentless Quest for Growth

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Citigroup has long played a central role in the financial story of the United States. Chartered in 1812 with $2 million of capital as City Bank of New York, Citigroup became a leading innovator in financial services -- offering customers everything from personal bank accounts and credit cards to investment banking and wealth management. Now the world's largest financial services network, Citigroup has also had its share of scandals.

1894: Becomes the largest American bank.

1918: First American bank to surpass $1 billion in assets.

1921: First major U.S. bank to offer compound interest on savings accounts.

1928: First major American bank to offer unsecured personal loans to its depositors.

1929: Seeks cash infusion from federal government after stock market crash.

1933: Investigated for role in stock market crash.

1961: Invents the negotiable certificate of deposit (CD).

1967: Introduces the Everything card, later known as Master Charge (today's MasterCard).

1970s: Becomes one of the first firms to use ATMs.

1990s: Becomes the world's largest issuer of credit cards and charge cards.

1998: Citicorp merges with Travelers Group.

2004: Disrupts European bond market by rapidly selling $11 billion worth of bonds, driving down the price, then buying back at cheaper prices.

2004: Pays billions for settlements and potential loan losses related to its dealings with Enron and WorldCom.

2005: Fined for violations relating to mutual fund sales.

2008: Fined for using improper computerized "sweep" feature that wrongly took millions of dollars from credit card customer accounts (1992-2003).

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