CitiFinancial to be renamed OneMain Financial

Rebranding to reflect local branches

December 09, 2010|By Hanah Cho, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore-based CitiFinancial, the consumer lending arm of financial giant Citigroup Inc., will be rebranded under a new name that sheds its corporate parent's Wall Street identity to reflect more Main Street roots.

CitiFinancial's new name as OneMain Financial, announced Wednesday, comes after the company completed a reorganization as it continues to explore a sale.

The restructuring involved closing 330 branches across the U.S., including six in Maryland, and creating a new network of servicing branches focused on helping existing customers with loan modifications. CitiFinancial said in June that it would rename its business after the restructuring.

CitiFinancial executives said the OneMain name "reflects and reinforces" its local business model and commitment to customers.

In 2009, Citigroup split itself into two businesses, separating its noncore businesses such as CitiFinancial from its global, corporate and investment banking services. Citigroup has been marketing CitiFinancial and other noncore assets for sale since then.

Jamie Rice, chief strategy officer at Carton Donofrio Partners, an advertising agency in Baltimore, said the rebranding separates CitiFinancial from its corporate parent, making the consumer lender a "more marketable franchise" to potential buyers.

The OneMain name also feels "a little more local and my guess is that's how they run their business," Rice said.

CitiFinancial makes home equity loans, auto loans and personal "debt consolidation" loans. It has 1,300 full-service branches and 7,000 workers in the U.S. CitiFinancial's downtown headquarters on St. Paul Place has about 850 workers.

Customers will receive information about CitiFinancial's rebranding in their next monthly statement. Loan payments and terms will remain the same.

Signs at the 1,300 branches will change in the summer to reflect the new OneMain Financial name.

CitiFinancial is the successor to Commercial Credit Corp. in Baltimore, which Citi patriarch Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill acquired in 1986 as the first step toward his goal of creating a company that would serve all financial needs of individual and business customers. Through a series of mergers, Commercial Credit turned into the Travelers Group, which in turn merged with the old Citicorp in 1998 to form Citigroup.

hanah.cho@baltsun.com

twitter.com/hanahcho

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