Citigroup might withdraw from more countries


Former Citigroup Vikram Pandit's strategy depended in large part on the bank's push to invest in other countries, making Citigroup a truly global bank seamlessly servicing the unique needs multinational corporations.

When it comes to the consumer side of the bank, however, the bank was always less of a global player. Indeed, just three countries (Mexico, South Korea and Australia) account for half of the company's consumer debt. The bank's presence in many other countries is miniscule, according to Reuters.

In an effort to cut expenses even more, new CEO Michael Corbat has announced plans to scale back on consumer operations in a host of other countries, including Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay. More countries will soon be added to that list.

Corbat recently suggested to analysts that over time, country managers tend to expand by veering into tangential businesses and end up saddling the company with extraneous and inefficient operations--a classic example of empire building perhaps.

Unfortunately, "selling any of the foreign assets now would be tough. Other lenders around the world have also been closing foreign outposts and buyers can be hard to find. London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, for example, has sold more than 40 businesses and other assets, such as credit card portfolios, globally since 2011, but it has sometimes been a struggle to get the prices it wanted."

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