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The Citi dump

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City landfills aren’t pretty places. Much the same can be said for Citi Holdings, the newly formed dumping ground for Citigroup’s most ailing and malodorous assets.

Earlier this year, the de facto government-owned bank created Citi Holdings as a repository for assets that it either planned on selling or would simply have a hard time giving away. In truth, Citi Holdings really isn’t a distinct company. It’s merely part of a PR strategy to get investors to focus on the businesses that are going well at Citi and which are housed in a so-called good bank called Citicorp.

But Citi Holdings holds the key to gauging just how long the bank will remain a ward of the state.

Now technically, things looked good at Citi Holdings in the second quarter, according to the results released today. But that’s only because Citi Holdings benefited from the closing of the Smith Barney joint venture with Morgan Stanley.

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