Citibank tells Indian retail customers it's ‘business as usual’

As part of this strategy the financial services company plans to exit the credit card, retail accounts and mortgage (home loan) business in India

Citigroup’s franchise in the country, which includes Citibank India and its consumer banking business and credit cards division, continues to operate as usual, a company official said.

The official, who was providing a clarification on the impact to customer operations as a result of Citigroup’s recent announcement that it planned to exit the retail banking business in 13 markets including India, referred to a recent statement by Citibank India. The official also added that customers of the consumer bank would be able to avail of their usual services till a buyer or buyers were found for the business, after due approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

“There is no immediate change to our operations and no immediate impact to our colleagues as a result of this announcement,” Citibank India CEO Ashu Khullar said in the statement. “In the interim, we will continue to serve our clients with the same care, empathy and dedication that we do today,” he asserted.

“We don’t have the scale we need to compete,” Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser had said on April 15, explaining the rationale behind the decision to exit the 13 markets, where she said the company had excellent businesses. “We believe our capital, investment dollars and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia.”

As part of this strategy the financial services company plans to exit the credit card, retail accounts and mortgage (home loan) business in India, in due course.

The company has started looking out for a buyer or buyers and once found, it will need to approach the RBI for approval, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Until then it was business as usual, the official observed, adding that generally it could take at least up to a year to complete such a transaction.

Citigroup would, however, continue to offer in India its corporate, commercial and investment banking, brokerage, treasury and trade services, securities and fund services.

“We will continue to deliver our innovative digital solutions, backed by our global network, and devote our resources to large and mid-sized Indian corporates and multinationals, financial institutions, start-ups in the new age sectors, amongst others,” Mr. Khullar said in the statement.

In FY20 Citibank India served 2.9 million retail customers with 1.2 million bank accounts and 2.2 million credit card accounts.

It had about 6% market share of retail credit card spends in the country.

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