Citigroup to exit most of its Asian consumer business

Citigroup to exit most of its Asian consumer business

Citigroup on Thursday put most of its consumer businesses in Asia and eastern Europe up for sale and said it would focus on wealth management in those regions, as it reported sliding revenues in its lending business.

“As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth,” said Jane Fraser, who became chief executive in February. “While the other 13 markets have excellent businesses, we don’t have the scale we need to compete.”

Citigroup, the third-largest US lender by assets, said it would look to sell its consumer businesses in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The move will not affect the bank’s institutional clients business in those countries.

Its remaining consumer and wealth management businesses will be run out of four hubs: Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London. 

Citi also said that its revenue slid 7 per cent in the first quarter, primarily due to low interest rates and tepid loan demand, which offset robust growth in investment banking fees.

Overall Citigroup reported net income of $7.9bn, or $3.62 per share, up from $2.5bn, or $1.06 per share a year earlier.

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