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Citibank to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia, Europe but Singapore unaffected

SINGAPORE — Citigroup Inc will be exiting its consumer banking franchises in 13 markets across Asia and Europe as part of its ongoing refreshing of its strategy, the American banking group announced on Thursday (April 15).

Citibank to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia, Europe but Singapore unaffected

A view of the exterior of the Citibank corporate headquarters in New York.

SINGAPORE — Citigroup Inc will be exiting its consumer banking franchises in 13 markets across Asia and Europe as part of its ongoing refreshing of its strategy, the American banking group announced on Thursday (April 15).

However, the Singapore market will not be affected by the move, it said in a statement. The 13 consumer franchises that will be affected are Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Citi is one of the largest foreign banks in Singapore, employing around 8,500 people here, where it has had a presence since 1902.

Ms Jane Fraser, Citi’s global chief executive officer, said that the group intends to “double down on wealth”.

“We will operate our consumer banking franchise in Asia and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) solely from four wealth centres, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and London,” she said.

“This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth management business offers through these important hubs,” said Ms Fraser.

Citi did not give a timeframe for when it will exit the 13 markets.

In a media statement, Mr Amol Gupte, head of Asean and Citi country officer for Singapore at Citigroup, said that Singapore is a critical hub for the banking group and serves as a global gateway for its clients in Asia and across the world.

Mr Gupte said: “Our business strategy recognises the important role that the country plays for our consumer and wealth management businesses, as well as our institutional business.

“With a 120-year history in Singapore, we will also remain as a significant operational and technology hub serving our businesses internationally.”

Explaining the closure of the 13 other markets, Ms Fraser said: “While the other 13 markets have excellent businesses, we don’t have the scale we need to compete.

“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.”

It is also among the largest credit card issuers in Singapore, and banks close to 1,900 multinational corporations and more than 2,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises, the company said.

The group on Thursday posted a net income for the first quarter of 2021 of US$7.9 billion (S$10.55 billion), more than tripling its profit of US$2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

This was after it freed up US$3.85 billion in reserves that it had built up for expected loan losses from the pandemic, reported Reuters.

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citibank bank restructure finance

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