HONG KONG/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup <C.N> is merging its consumer banking unit in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with Asia, the largest region for profit for the business outside North America, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The move, which will see consumer banking revenues from five countries – Bahrain, Poland, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom – getting consolidated with Asia, will not have any impact on staff headcounts in EMEA or in Asia, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Citigroup stopped disclosing its EMEA consumer revenue early last year after posting its financial reports for 2014. The region no longer had much impact on the company after Citigroup retreated from countries where it was not making enough money to be worthwhile to remain in those locations.
In 2014, the company showed a loss from EMEA consumer businesses of $7 million on revenue of $1.4 billion, which was less than 2 percent of total Citigroup revenue that year.
As of the end of March 2016, EMEA accounted for only 1.5 percent of outstanding consumer loans, according to a company disclosure in April.
James Griffiths, a spokesman for Citigroup in Hong Kong, confirmed the contents of the memo.
“As part of ongoing efforts to become a leaner, simpler organization, Citi’s EMEA consumer cluster will now be managed by its Asia consumer franchise,” he said.
“The integration is designed to enable us to operate more efficiently and effectively,” he said.
The memo marked the completion of a shift in executives following an internal announcement in February by Global Consumer Banking Chief Executive Stephen Bird that the EMEA consumer businesses would be integrated with the Asia business.
Consumer business managers in the EMEA countries will now report to Anand Selva, head of the Asia consumer business. Anil Wadhwani, who had been head of EMEA consumer, has become head of operations for the Global Consumer Banking segment.
Citigroup, the most geographically diverse of U.S. banks, has been shrinking and simplifying its operations to boost its profitability after having been bailed out by the government in the financial crisis.
With this change, Asia, which contributed a fifth of Citigroup’s global consumer banking profit last year, will manage the group’s business in 17 countries. The bank has consumer banking business in 19 countries globally.
The bulk of the company’s consumer businesses are in the United States and in Mexico.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong and David Henry in New York.; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Bernadette Baum)