Citigroup is exiting from 13 markets for its consumer banking operations for its Asia and EMEA regions, and will be focusing on its presence in four markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE and London. According to the banking company, this restructure is part of an "ongoing strategic review" and will allow the Citi to direct investments and resources to the businesses where it has the greatest scale and growth potential. The affected markets are: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and Taiwan. Citigroup’s institutional clients group will continue to serve clients in these markets, which the company said "remain important to Citi’s global network".

Addressing the business structure, Jane Fraser, Citi's CEO, said while the 13 markets it is exiting from have excellent businesses, Citigroup does not have the scale it needs to compete. With that, the company believes its capital, investment dollars and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia. 

“As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth. This positions us to capture the strong growth and attractive returns the wealth management business offers through these important hubs," Fraser added. 

This decision comes as Citigroup recorded US$19.3 billion revenue in the first quarter of 2021. This was a 7% decrease as compared to last year, where the company saw a revenue of US$20.7 billion. Citigroup's revenues for its global consumer banking were down quarter-over-quarter as a result of the pandemic, according to Fraser. The company reported a revenue of US$7,037 million this quarter as compared to US$7,305 million in the first quarter of 2020. For Asia specifically, Citigroup saw a decreased revenue of US$1,601 million as compared to US$1,554 million in 2020. 

Meanwhile, the company saw strong performance in its institutional clients group, its network-driven strategy that allows the company to service clients that require a financial services partner that can help them grow in any country where they do business. These clients include multinationals that are expanding globally, particularly in the emerging markets, and emerging markets companies that are growing beyond their home market or region.

This is not the first time Citigroup restructured its consumer banking operations. In 2018, Citigroup reportedly switched up its consumer banking operations to “harmonise Citigroup’s consumer business with operating models of units in Asia and Mexico" which have both performed and produced better results. Media reports then said the change came as Citi looks to improve its card business and better connect with its US consumers.  With the restructure, Citigroup shifted its Singapore-based head of consumer banking in Asia, Anand Selva, to North America. According to his LinkedIn, Selva currently helms the position of CEO, global consumer bank, at Citigroup.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF )

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