Citigroup Inc. will ramp up purchases of mortgages underwritten by other companies and keep more loans on its balance sheet after reversing a plan to scale back home lending.

The New York banking company has decided that mortgages are a "core" product alongside consumer-banking staples like savings accounts and credit cards, Sanjiv Das, who heads the lender's U.S. mortgage business, said in an interview.

"We decided that we can't have a consumer bank without a mortgage product," Das said. "Then, we said, 'let's now start to grow this business back in a high-quality way.' "

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