In the latest sign of growing problems among banks, Citicorp, the nation's largest bank group, said Tuesday it would lose as much as $400 million in the fourth quarter after cutting 8,000 jobs and boosting its reserves for bad loans.
Citicorp also said it would slash its dividend to stockholders, a move advocated by federal regulators to help save cash in case of problems.
Major banks including Citicorp have been under pressure due to a weak real estate market, mounting loan losses and continued problems with Third World loans.
Citicorp, which has also been hit by the depressed property market in the Northeast, said it would add $340 million to its reserves for potentially bad loans.
The New York-based bank said it expected to lose $300 million to $400 million, with the job cuts costing $300 million. The cuts represent 9 percent of its work force. Nearly half the jobs have already been cut, the bank said.
But industry analysts said Citicorp will have to do more.
"I suspect job cuts will be a lot higher than the 8,000," said Kidder Peabody's Charles Peabody.
After the fourth-quarter loss, the banking company said it would report a profit for the entire year of $400 million to $500 million.
The bank also said it would recommend that its board cut the quarterly dividend to 25 cents a share from 44.5 cents at its January meeting.
The announcements came at the conclusion of an annual review by federal regulators, who scrutinized the bank's weakening real estate loan portfolio.
And Citicorp broke the news just after Manufacturers Hanover Corp. of New York, defying analysts' predictions, said it was maintaining its 82 cent a share dividend. But analysts said Manufacturers may be just delaying the inevitable.
Signs of problems at the nation's largest banks have been mounting recently. A disturbing Congressional report this week said that many banks were insolvent.
Citicorp's charge for staff cuts was far higher than expected by analysts, who had predicted a write-off in the $100 million range, predicting Citicorp was dropping about 5,000 employees. nd report a loss
Citicorp said 1,850 of the jobs to be eliminated are in businesses that will be discontinued or sold.
The dividend cut was expected after third-quarter cuts by Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp., other large New York banks with large souring real estate loans.
The fourth-quarter loss may cut Citicorp's 1990 profits below last year's level of $498 million and will make 1988's $1.86 billion net income seem like a distant memory.
For the first nine months of 1990, Citicorp has earned $700 million, compared with $1.28 billion in the first nine months of 1989. Last year Citicorp posted a net loss of $784 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $747 million in the fourth quarter of 1988.