by BLOOMBERG / pic by TMR FILE
CITIGROUP INC. plans to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
The bank will instead operate its consumer-banking franchise in both regions from four wealth centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London, it said Thursday in a statement. The move is part of an ongoing review of the company’s strategy by Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser, who took over last month.
“This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth-management business offers through these important hubs,” Fraser said in the statement.
Citigroup will exit its consumer franchises in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The firm will continue to offer products in those markets to customers of its institutional clients group, which houses the private bank, cash-management arm and investment-banking and trading businesses.
The New York-based bank has already been building out a wealth-advisory hub in Singapore. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) space is the largest of its kind for the bank and has room for more than 300 relationship managers and product specialists.
The withdrawal came as Citigroup reported record quarterly profit, boosted by the flurry of blank-check companies it helped take public in the first three months of the year.
“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.”