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Citibank forced to shutter Russian operations after no buyer found

Citibank has been forced to shut down its consumer and local commercial banking operations in Russia after it proved impossible to find a buyer for the businesses.

Citibank forced to shutter Russian operations

The bank announced the exit in a statement after spending more than a year trying to sell the divisions as western reprisals against Moscow made it all but impossible to continue operating in the country.

The lender added that it “continues to actively pursue sales of certain Russian consumer banking portfolios”.

Citibank said its exposure to Russia had declined to $8.4 billion from $9.8 billion at the end of last year. About $1 billion is related to the retail and local commercial banking operations being wound down.

The exit will affect 2,300 staff and 15 local branches.

The bank is not closing its investment banking and transaction services operation in the country, but is reducing its exposure and not taking on new customers.

“We continue to serve institutional clients in Russia, primarily multinationals, many of whom are undertaking the complex task of unwinding their own operations in the country,” it said.

Citi first announced its intention to exit Russian retail in April 2021 as part of chief executive Jane Fraser’s global retreat from consumer banking, spanning 14 countries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

All major banks with a significant presence remaining in Russia are attempting to sell their operations, but are facing an increasingly limited pool of buyers and huge potential losses to write off their investments.

French lender SocGen took a €3.1 billion hit on selling Rosbank. However, HSBC, Austria’s Raiffeisen and Italian banks UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo are still holding out for better deals.


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