Citibank: Weathering the Commercial Real Estate Crisis of the Early 1990s
Posted: 9 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 13, 2012
As the commercial real estate market began to crash in early 1990 heavily exposed banks like Citibank and Chase Manhattan were left largely undercapitalized. John Reed, Citibank Chairman and CEO, was caught off guard by the sudden market plunge. While Reed struggled to maintain the capital reserve of us his bank further weaknesses within Citi began to emerge. In addition, to missing the coming of the real estate crisis Citi had had poorly managed internal operations, overvalued acquisitions and grown heavy from organizational excess. The poor management left Citi in the care of Federal Regulators, worried about the banks solvency. The case examines the roots of these problems and the steps taken by Reed to return the bank to a well-managed and stable institution.
Learning Objective: The case discusses the strategic challenges faced by Citi Bank in the early 1990s. The case allows students to identify the factors that lead to Citi's decline and assess Reed's performance in the turnaround. The case also introduces students to the border issues of commercial real estate and the crisis of the early 1990s. The case is appropriate for courses in strategy and organizational leadership.
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