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Regulators consider bailout for Citigroup

Sunday, November 23, 2008 | 6:46 p.m. CST; updated 9:41 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 11, 2008

 WASHINGTON — The government was weighing a plan on Sunday to rescue Citigroup Inc., whose stock has been hammered amid worries about its financial health.

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have been in discussions over the weekend to devise a strategy to stabilize the company, according to people familiar with the talks. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were ongoing.

A spokesman for New York-based Citigroup declined comment.

The company has seen its shares lose 60 percent of their value in the past week, reflecting a crisis of confidence among skittish investors who are worried all the risky debt on Citigroup’s balance sheet will turn into losses as the economy worsens and the markets stay turbulent — losses that could be nearly impossible to reverse.

Citigroup is such a large, interconnected player in the financial system that if it were to collapse it would wreak havoc on already fragile financial and economic conditions.

Analysts consider Citigroup the most vulnerable among the major U.S. banks — especially after it failed to nab Wachovia Corp., which was bought instead by Wells Fargo & Co. That was a missed opportunity for Citi to gets its hands on much-needed U.S. deposits that would bolster its cash position.


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