UPDATE 3-Citigroup to exit retail banking in Brazil, Argentina

viernes 19 de febrero de 2016 10:38 GYT

* To sell consumer businesses in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia

* Says exit will simplify global consumer banking

* Shares down 1.3 pct (Adds details)

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc said it plans to exit its retail banking and credit card operations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia as part of its efforts to cut costs and boost profitability.

Shares of the bank, which has operated in Argentina and Brazil for more than a century, were down 1.3 percent at $38.40 in early trading on Friday.

The U.S. bank, built with a series of acquisitions dating back to the 1980s, has been trying to slim down since the financial crisis to be as profitable as its rivals.

Barely six months into his tenure as the chief executive, Michael Corbat counted at least 21 markets with exceptionally low returns on assets and substandard operating efficiency as candidates for restructuring.

The Wall Street bank, like its peers, has had to resort to aggressive cost controls as near-zero interest rates, a slump in oil prices and investor cautiousness due to worries about slowing growth in China have hurt its revenue growth.

Citi's consumer business accounts for about half of the company and is heavily weighted towards U.S. credit cards.   Continuación...