Banking giant Citigroup will close its consumer operations in the Philippines as it focuses more on wealth centers in Asia and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
In a statement on Friday, the global lender said its strategic actions in global consumer banking will allow it to direct investments and resources to the businesses where it has the greatest scale and growth potential.
“As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth,” Jane Fraser, the chief executive officer of Citi, was quoted as saying.
Fraser added that Citi will operate its consumer banking franchise in Asia and EMEA solely from four wealth centers — Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and London.
As a result, Citi announced it intends to pursue exits from its consumer franchises in 13 markets across the two regions. The affected businesses include the consumer franchises in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
“While the other 13 markets have excellent businesses, we don’t have the scale we need to compete. 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,” Fraser added.
Despite this, Citi said its Institutional Clients Group will continue to serve clients in these markets, which remain important to its global network.
For his part, Aftab Ahmed, the chief executive officer and country officer for Citi Philippines, stressed that there is no immediate change in the bank’s operations in the country.
He further said there is “no immediate impact to our colleagues as a result of this announcement.”
“In the interim, we will continue to serve our clients with the same care, empathy and dedication as we do today,” Ahmed added.