Citigroup announces retail business exit from India, 12 other countriesCitigroup announces retail business exit from India, 12 other countries
on Apr 16, 2021 Citigroup on Thursday said it was exiting retail banking in India and 12 other countries across Asia and parts of Europe to focus on its wealth management business, as it lacked the “scale” to compete in this space. The decision to exit retail businesses from a few markets was one of the first moves by newly appointed CEO Jane Fraser after she took over the US-headquartered bank in February. On Thursday, Citigroup, while announcing its quarterly results, said it would exit its consumer franchises in India, Australia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Citigroup’s Institutional Clients Group will continue to serve clients in these markets, which remain important to Citi’s global network, the bank said in its statement. While the contours of the exit were not immediately known, Citi, sources said, had started the process of looking for a buyer. Citi India’s Chief Executive Officer Ashu Khullar said there would be no “immediate change to our operations and no immediate impact to our colleagues”. In the interim, the bank will continue to serve its existing customers. The exit is part of its ongoing strategic review, in order to direct “investments and resources to the businesses where it has the greatest scale and growth potential”. Citi will now focus its global consumer bank presence on four wealth centers — Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, and London. We believe our capital and resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia, said Jane Fraser, Citi CEO “While the other 13 markets have excellent businesses, we don’t have the scale we need to compete,” Fraser said. “We believe our capital, investment dollars, and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia,” she said. The bank will now “double down on wealth”. Citigroup reported a profit of $7.94 billion, or $3.62 a share, exceeding analysts’ estimate of $2.60 a share, according to Bloomberg. Fraser’s admission that the bank lacked the scale for competing in markets such as India is something that analysts have flagged before. In India, competition has heated up with several large private and a few public sector banks continuously innovating on the retail turf with newer products for customer acquisition.
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