May 01, 2012

Citigroup Inc has hired top Freddie Mac executive Anthony Renzi as chief operating officer of its North American mortgage business, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday as the third largest U.S. bank rebuilds its business.

Citi may circulate an internal memo announcing Renzi's appointment as early as Wednesday, the source said. A Citi spokesman declined to comment.

Freddie Mac said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that Renzi, a member of the company's management committee reporting directly to the chief executive, would leave the company on May 11.

Renzi had been appointed to head Freddie Mac's single-family home business. Before joining Freddie Mac, Renzi worked at GMAC Mortgage for 25 years.

Dow Jones reported on Renzi's appointment at Citi earlier on Tuesday.

A major force in mortgage lending, Citi has suffered from a slump in home prices, but is now seeing prospects of recovery. The relentless decline in U.S. home prices is nearing an end and prices should rise for the first time in seven years in 2013, according a Reuters poll of economists published last month.

Citi posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter 2012 earnings last month, partly thanks to higher mortgage revenues in North America that bolstered its retail banking business.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Matt Driskill)

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