Citigroup is ending its consumer banking operation in Mexico as part of a broad strategic shift under CEO Jane Fraser.
The bank announced Tuesday that it’s exiting the consumer, small business and middle market banking operations of its Mexican business, known as Banamex. Citi, which has operated in Mexico for over a century, said it would continue to have an institutional presence in the country, focused on its private banking clients.
Since taking over as CEO in March last year, Fraser has sought to streamline the bank’s operations and bolster investors’ confidence after years of mismanagement and scandal. As part of the bank’s broader “refresh,” Fraser shed most of Citi’s consumer banking operations in Asia to focus more on wealthy clients and the bank’s credit card business.
“The strategy refresh Citi has undertaken will result in a stronger, more focused bank,” said Mark Mason, Citi’s chief financial officer, in a statement. “We will execute a targeted consumer strategy, double down in wealth, and focus on our higher-returning institutional businesses where we have competitive advantages.”
The Mexican business Citi is divesting from accounted for about $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three quarters of 2021, the bank said.
Analysts have for years pushed Citi to offload the Banamex unit, which the bank acquired in 2001. At the time, Citi had hoped to take advantage of Mexico’s economic recovery and give the American bank an edge in global markets. But the Mexican unit was dogged by scandals, and Citi eventually paid $97 million to settle federal money-laundering claims.
Citi, along with other major US banks, reports earnings on Friday.