Citi completes consumer banking sales of India and Vietnam businesses

In 2022, UOB agreed to acquire Citi’s Vietnam business as part of a larger deal that also includes Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Meanwhile, the bank’s India consumer business will transfer to domestic lender, Axis Bank.

On March 1, Citi announced the completion of two divestitures that mark the sixth and seventh as part of its strategy to exit of consumer banking in 14 markets.

Citi first announced its agreement with UOB in January 2022, noting that the deal would see UOB Group pay approximately S$5 billion ($3.71 billion), including a premium of S$915, for its retail and credit card assets in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The sale of the Malaysia and Thailand franchises completed in November; while the sale of the Indonesian business is expected to close in the second half of this year, according to the bank’s third quarter 2022 earnings results presentation.

The latest announcement said that the Vietnam transaction would result in “a modest regulatory capital benefit to Citi”; the bank declined to be more specific for regulatory reasons.

Citi APAC CEO, Peter Babej, said in the release, “Citi remains deeply committed to Vietnam, and we will invest further to support institutional clients locally and across our global network.”

The bank earlier closed its sales in Australia, Bahrain, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, bringing its total number of completed divestitures to seven. It has signed sales agreements in nine markets overall.

Also on March 01, the bank released an announcement on completion of the sale of its India consumer franchise to Axis Bank Limited. The deal was first announced in March 2022.

The transaction involves Citi’s credit card, retail banking, wealth management and consumer loans businesses and will see it transfer 3,200 Citi employees to Axis Bank. This comprises its entire India-focussed consumer banking team, a spokesperson for Citi confirmed with FinanceAsia, and will result in a regulatory capital benefit of $1.4 billion.

But the bank remains committed to India. "India remains a critical institutional market for Citi,” Babej said.

Citi first announced plans to exit 13 consumer markets across Asia and EMEA, while retaining four hubs (Singapore, Hong Kong, London and the UAE) in April 2021, before adding Mexico to its exit strategy in January 2022. The plans also involve winding down its consumer businesses in China and Korea, and its entire operations in Russia.

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