The decline in profit was the largest amongst the larger banks based in the United States that thus far have reported results for the first quarter, but its lower expenses for operating helped the bank beat low expectations set by Wall Street.
Shares of the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets were up over 2% on Friday during trading before the opening bell.
Globally banks have started the year on a down note amidst interest rates near zero and a slowdown in the China economy.
In addition, the pain has increased on banks due to the energy companies being hit by plunging oil prices that have helped to drive many in the gas and oil industry in bankruptcy or teetering close to it.
Fees from investment banking across the industry dropped 29% during the period, which was the slowest first three months of a year in the past six years.
Revenue from fixed income fell by 11.5% to just over $3.09 billion during the quarter, while revenue from investment banking was down by 27.1% to just over $875 million. However, there was a decline in operating expenses of 3.3% ending the quarter at $10.5 billion.
The banking group, like its many rivals, has had to use aggressive cost cutting controls that have underpinned earnings the last few quarters as revenue continues to be weak.
The bank, which has a greater number of assets across emerging markets than do the other banks in the U.S., has been leaving the markets that are less profitable and slashing jobs to become much more efficient.
The company posted over $491 million in repositioning charges.
The results that are better than had been expected arrive just two days after the bank was given a large endorsement from bank regulators who indicated that Citigroup was the only bank of eight reviewed that had a credible plan for dealing with possibly bankruptcy without needing to rely on any public money.
That endorsement gives its investors reason to think that Citigroup will be able to win the approval this June from the Federal Reserve to return more money to its shareholders.