Citigroup to exit retail banking operations in Mexico

The American banking giant Citigroup has announced that it sell its retail banking activities in Mexico, saying it “will focus on investing in businesses that align with its core strengths.”

European banker Santander has reportedly made an offer to take over the Citi unit, which represents $44 billion in assets.

The US bank said it would also exit small business and middle market banking in the country, where it operates as Citibanamex. The Mexican operations that Citi is leaving make about $3.5 billion in annual revenue.

However, Citi will not leave Mexico altogether, it will continue to operate as a locally licensed banker.

With 1,500 branches and more than 20 million customers, Citigroup is Mexico’s second largest bank. As of December 2016, it performed around 17.5 million transactions per day and maintained over 7,500 ATMs and 5.7 million credit card accounts.

In 2015, Citigroup also closed its consumer businesses in no less than six Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.

One year later, it’s old its consumer banking business in Argentina to Banco Santander Rio and the Brazilian consumer business to Itaú Unibanco.

Over the past two years, Citi executives have often said the bank will exit 13 markets across Asia and Europe as part of the “simplification” of its operations.

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