Citigroup announced plans to end its retail banking business in Malaysia and 12 other markets spread across the world. Citi Malaysia, however, assured customers that there would be no changes to its consumer banking operations for now.
In addition to Malaysia, Citigroup will pull its retail banking from Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It will continue to operate its other units, like private and investment banking, in these countries. But its retail banking franchise will instead operate from four wealth centres – Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and London.
According to the New Straits Times (NST), Citi Malaysia CEO Usman Ahmed said the move doesn’t dilute the firm’s long-term commitment to Malaysia or the Asia-Pacific region. He noted that “our Citi Solutions Centers in Kuala Lumpur and Penang also remain an equally important operations hub for Citi, from where we execute millions of financial transactions worth over US$29 trillion annually for over 50 countries across the globe.”
While Citigroup as a whole recently reported a record quarterly profit, Forbes pointed out that its revenues from retail banking in Asia dropped 9% compared to the first quarter of 2020.
According to Bloomberg, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser observed that the company’s resources “are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia.”