Citigroup (NYSE: C) has reached another milestone in its long, painstaking recovery from the financial crisis, but its executives still see a slog ahead.

The third-largest bank said Monday that it has reduced its portfolio of unwanted assets to 9% of its overall assets, or $171 billion — down from $662 billion, or about 36% of its assets, in early 2009. That's when Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, trying to pull the bank from the brink of failure, created a "Citi Holdings" unit for businesses he planned to sell or wind down.

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