Citi exiting Japan retail banking business

Global banking giant Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) has been making certain changes in strategy recently, focusing internationally more on institutional rather than on retail business. The latest step taken, a rather large and drastic one, is the just-announced sale of Citi’s Japanese retail banking business to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Grp, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:SMFG) for for about ¥40 billion, or about USD $330 million.

Citi has had a retail banking presence in Japan for more than 100 years. Its Japan retail banking business consists of 32 branches, 740,000 customers, 1,600 employees, and deposits in excess of ¥2.44 trillion (USD $20 billion).

CitigroupThe sale is part of a cost cutting move by Citi to jettison poor performing consumer businesses. Citi had said in October it was pulling out of consumer banking in 11 markets, including Japan and Egypt.

While in the US Citi is known mainly for its retail consumer bank, abroad it is quickly becoming an institutional focused bank. CitiFX Pro does indeed also operate in the US market as a white label of Saxo Bank, and also does have institutional clients in the US and abroad.

While CitiFX Pro is the only major holdout among large banking concerns still active in the retail forex field (after Deutsche Bank exited dbFX back in 2011), it is of course not only a retail platform.

To see the press release on the Citi Japan acquisition click here.

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