Citigroup Reports Higher Profits, Plans to Slash Asian Consumer Businesses

Citigroup Inc. is shutting down most of its consumer banking operations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the latest sign that the original financial supermarket is rethinking how to do business.

The bank also reported a considerably higher first-quarter profit on Thursday, though that was largely due to its previous year’s results being affected by preparations for the pandemic. Citigroup posted a profit of $ 7.9 billion, or $ 3.62 per share, well above the $ 2.60 per share forecast by analysts surveyed by FactSet. A year earlier, Citigroup had reported a quarterly profit of about $ 2.5 billion, or $ 1.05 per share.

The New York bank also said it would exit its consumer operations in 13 countries, mainly Asia, to focus on wealth management and other businesses.

For Jane Fraser, who took over as CEO last month, the change marks one of her first big moves at the helm of the bank. Ms. Fraser said in a statement that those consumer banks were great businesses, but “we don’t have the scale we need to compete.” He said Citigroup would continue to invest in wealth management and businesses that serve corporate clients in Asia.

Today’s Citigroup was created in 1998, a merger of consumer-focused Citicorp and Wall Street bankers into Travelers Group. The company grew into the world’s largest financial services firm, and executives envisioned a one-stop shop where travelers traveling the world could always find a Citi ATM.


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