Citi will end its UK retail banking business to focus on wealth management

US multinational investment bank Citi is proposing to end its UK retail banking business and instead focus its personal banking and wealth management business on select high net worth clients.

Citi plans to scrap UK retail banking

The planned closure of its UK retail division is part of Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser’s plans to simplify the business and boost its share price by exiting core businesses, including consumer franchises in 13 markets.

The news comes months after Citi announced it would exit its Citibanamex consumer banking business in Mexico, ending a 20-year retail presence in the country.

If UK plans are given the green light, Citi says the “overwhelming majority” of customers not invited to switch to its private bakery services will not be affected until 2023.

Citi’s UK retail banking footprint is small, with a branch at its EMEA headquarters in Canary Wharf. As a result, Citi says the move would have “an intangible financial impact” on the company.

The implementation, if launched, would be handled by Citi’s wealth management business and the bank is in consultation with affected employees.

The bank says the UK is a “centre of strategic wealth” and an important global hub for its institutional business.

Reducing its banking operations will allow Citi to leverage its “core strengths” in private and investment banking and focus on clients who need wealth management advice, the company said.

Customers of Citi’s UK retail banking who fit this profile will be invited to use its private banking services, “where they will enjoy the benefits of a wider product range and more personalized service”, including banking transactions.