Count Citigroup’s Michael Corbat as one CEO who doesn’t believe that recession is coming any time soon.
“Near term, I don’t see the recession,” he says. “My biggest fear is that we’re in the process of talking ourselves into the next recession as opposed to the next recession really coming at us.”
Corbat in a position to know. He runs the third largest bank in the world with nearly $100 billion in revenues, about 30 million credit card customers, operations in 160 countries, and more than 200,000 employees. Citi is ranked at Number 30 on the Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies in America. And earlier this week the New York-based money center bank announced healthy quarterly results with earnings rising seven percent and revenues posting better than expected numbers.
While many business leaders, economists and stock market analysts still expect the U.S. economy to enter a recession, Corbat lists his reasons for optimism.
U.S. economy? “Pretty good shape.”
Job market? “Employment high, unemployment low”
Housing? “Rising prices” and “good stability.”
Consumer confidence? “Relatively high.”
What about business confidence? Corbat says he talks with business leaders frequently and he finds they have become “more conservative.”
“What does business really like? What does business react to? It reacts to certainty,” he explains. “It reacts to knowing what’s ahead because we’re not running business for 90 day quarters.”
Despite uncertainty about issues like trade with China, Brexit complications and threats from Iran, Corbat is still hopeful. “I’m excited about the future,” he says.
Watch the video above for more from my interview with Corbat.