Citibank plans to exit India and 12 other countries


United States banking giant Citigroup has decided to step out of the consumer banking business in India and 12 other nations as part of a global strategy to focus on institutional business.

Citi Chief Executive Jane Fraser said that Citigroup will focus its global consumer banking business on four markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, London and the United Arab Emirates. But it will depart China, India and 11 other retail markets, where “we don’t have the scale we need to compete.”

Citibank India has now put on sale its retail banking business that includes advances totaling almost $8.9 billion and deposits worth almost $21 billion.

Fraser, who moved into the CEO role in March, described the pivot as part of an effort to “double down” on wealth management, where the growth opportunities are better. Most of the markets being exited are in Asia, where Citigroup’s global consumer banking business at the end of 2020 had $6.5 billion in revenues, 224 retail branches and $123.9 billion in deposits.

The move came as Citigroup reported first-quarter profits of $7.9 billion, more than three times the level in the year-ago period. Revenues fell seven percent to $19.3 billion.

The bank will not sell its wealth management and institutional business which earns the bank major fee income, and indicated that there won’t be any layoffs or closure of offices in India.

Ashu Khullar, CEO, Citi India, said, “There is no immediate change to our operations and no immediate impact to our colleagues as a result of this announcement. In the interim, we will continue to serve our clients with the same care, empathy and dedication that we do today.”

“Citi is not closing down consumer business in India. However, the plan is to sell off this business. There won’t be any retrenchment or closure of offices. We will focus on the institutional business,” said an official of the bank.