US multinational investment bank Citi is proposing to wind down its retail banking operations in the UK and instead focus its personal banking and wealth management business on select wealth clients.
The mooted closure of its UK retail division forms part of Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser’s plans to simplify the firm and boost its share price by exiting core businesses, including consumer franchises in 13 markets.
The news comes months after Citi said it would exit its Citibanamex consumer banking business in Mexico, ending a 20-year retail presence in the country.
If the UK plans are given the go-ahead, Citi says the “overwhelming majority” of customers not invited to move to its private baking services will not be affected until 2023.
Citi’s retail banking footprint in the UK is small, with one branch at its EMEA headquarters in Canary Wharf. As a result, Citi says the move would have “immaterial financial impact” on the company.
The implementation, if set in motion, would be handled by Citi’s wealth management business and the bank is undergoing a consultation process with the relevant employees.
The bank says the UK is a “strategic wealth hub” and a significant global hub for its institutional business.
Slimming down its banking operations will allow Citi to leverage its “key strengths” in private banking and investment services and focus on clients who require wealth management advice, the firm says.
Clients of Citi’s UK retail bank who meet this profile will be invited to use its private banking services, “where they would enjoy the benefits of a broader product range and more bespoke service”, including transaction banking.