Citigroup is to break itself up by separating higher-risk US consumer finance and securities businesses from its global commercial banking operations in an attempt to ensure its survival.

People close to the situation said Citi would place unwanted assets and businesses worth more than $600bn – a third of its balance sheet – into a “non-core” unit to isolate them from healthier parts of the company.

Bankers said that the new unit would remain on the company’s books but its results would be reported separately from the rest of the business in an effort to convince investors of the company’s viability.

The non-core unit could be eventually sold in parts or as a whole or spun off once market conditions improve, they added. The split would go a long way to dismantling the 1998 merger of John Reed’s Citicorp and Sandy Weill’s Travelers that created Citigroup and could be a template for other troubled banks.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph