Citi completes sales of Malaysia, Thailand consumer banking to UOB

CITIGROUP Inc has completed the sales of its Malaysia and Thailand retail banking and consumer credit card businesses to United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB) subsidiaries, which include the transfer of over 3,000 related staff.

The transaction is expected to result in a regulatory capital benefit of approximately US$1 billion (RM4.73 billion), Citi said in a statement released today.

Citi and UOB first announced the transaction on Jan 14, 2022, as part of a broader sale agreement covering consumer banking across Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia and excluding the bank’s institutional businesses. As previously disclosed, the sales of the Vietnam and Indonesia consumer businesses are expected to be completed in 2023.

In a separate statement, UOB said the acquisition was part of its strategy to scale up its Asean retail business outside of its home market of Singapore. Once completed, the acquisition is expected to double UOB’s existing retail customer base in the four markets to 5.3 million customers and add 5,000 people to its team strength.

UOB deputy chairman/CEO Wee Ee Cheong said the acquisition provides it with increased scale and supports its ambition to be the bank of choice for consumers and businesses in Asean.  

The bank said underpinning the campaign is the bank’s strategy to tap the rising affluence in Asean, acquiring and serving customers through its digital banking platform, UOB TMRW, and meeting their financial needs through its omni-channel approach as they move up the wealth continuum.

On its part, Citi said since announcing as part of its strategic refresh that it intends to exit consumer banking across 14 markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Mexico, sales agreements have been signed in nine markets. Transactions have now closed in four markets including Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Citi is also in the process of winding down consumer banking in South Korea and Russia, the statement added.

Citi Asia Pacific CEO Peter Babej said Citi remained deeply committed to Malaysia and Thailand, and that the financial group will “invest further in both markets” across its institutional franchise to support clients locally and where they do business across Citi’s network. — TMR / pic BERNAMA