Private lender Yes Bank is looking to bid for the Indian retail assets of Citibank. This move comes as the foreign bank is slated to partially exit 13 countries, including India. Yes Bank also joins a list of parties interested in the local operations of Citi.
The bank will look at acquiring Citi's retail assets, including credit cards and wealth management. "We would definitely explore that opportunity; I think they are running a process. Once all of that is in the public domain, we would definitely like to explore not only credit cards but also wealth management and retail business. Then, depending on our appetite, we would take a call," said chief executive Prashant Kumar in an interview.
The India business of Citi includes retail banking, wealth management, credit cards and mortgages. It also has a presence in the distribution of financial services products, investment banking operations and treasury and trade solutions. Citi India has over three dozen branches in areas like Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru (M.G. Road and South End Road), Chandigarh, Faridabad, Gurugram, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, New Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, Surat, etc.
Citi Bank has a balance sheet size of Rs 2.18 lakh crore. The reason for exit in some markets is the lack of scale due to regulations or otherwise.
Citi's exit is seen as one of the first big strategic moves made by CEO Jane Fraser, who took over the company's reins in February this year. "We believe our capital, investment dollars, and other resources are better deployed against higher returning opportunities in wealth management and our institutional businesses in Asia," said Jane Fraser.
Citi India CEO Ashu Khullar had said that they will continue to tap into the talent pool available here to continue to grow the five Citi Solution Centers that support their global footprint. "There is no immediate change to our operations and no immediate impact to our colleagues as a result of this announcement. In the interim, we will continue to serve our clients with the same care, empathy and dedication that we do today," said Khullar.