Citibank dumps operations in 13 countries

Photo: AP

US financial giant Citigroup announced it was restructuring operations and cutting consumer banking activities of its banking arm Citibank in 13 markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, BBC reported. The operations in those markets will be directed to four financial hubs in a move to improve market performance and boost returns. However Citibank confirmed it would continue to offer products and services to big clients and institutions.

Citigroup will shut down consumer banking operations in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The US banking group will instead run these operations from four hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London.

"As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth. We will operate our consumer banking franchise in Asia and EMEA solely from four wealth centres, Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE and London," chief executive Jane Fraser said.

Citi reported net income of $7.9bn for the first three months of 2021, beating analysts' expectations. While the banking group may be exiting key markets in Asia, rivals are expanding in the region. HSBC has a new venture to seek out wealthy customers in China and is employing 3,000 bankers over the next five years. US firms Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have also said they are expanding operations in China.

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