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After Closing Citibanamex, Citi Will Invest in Firms That Match Its ‘Core Strengths’

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Citigroup is making changes to its business structure, the bank said on its earnings call Friday (Jan. 14), part of a larger strategy to get away from global retail banking.

Bank officials said Citi will now report results from U.S. personal banking and global wealth management and drop its global consumer bank line.

The earnings call came just hours after Citigroup announced it was selling consumer banks in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to Singapore’s United Overseas Bank in a $3.7 billion deal that includes retail banking and credit cards but excludes Citi’s institutional businesses.

Read more: Citi Sells Southeast Asia Consumer Banks to UOB in $3.7B Deal

Two days earlier, the bank announced it was closing its Mexican retail banking arm, Citibanamex, and thus its consumer, small business and middle-market banking operations in Mexico to focus on other areas.

See more: Santander, Billionaire Salinas Express Interest in Citibanamex Acquisition

However, Citi CEO Jane Fraser said on the call that this doesn’t mean the end of the bank’s interest in Mexico.

“We expect Mexico will be a major recipient of global investment and trade flows in the years ahead,” she said. “Therefore, we plan to maintain a significant locally licensed bank there and invest capture growth in a core and high returning hub of our institutional network.”

She also told investors that the decision to close Citibanamex wasn’t an easy one.

“We took a clinical look at our franchise in Mexico, and we drew the hard conclusion that the non-institutional businesses do not fit our new strategic direction,” Fraser said on the call. “Now, to be clear, these are terrific. They’re scaled high returning franchises, but our strategic goal is to invest in businesses that are fully aligned with our core strengths.”

Several players have apparently expressed interest in purchasing Citibanamex, including Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV, Bank of Nova Scotia, Santander and Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas.

Citi announced earlier this year it was selling off consumer franchises in 13 markets across the Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. The move is expected to generate around $7 billion of allocated tangible common equity over time.

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