Citigroup to sell consumer banking assets in Brazil to Itaś Unibanco

Citigroup Inc yesterday struck a deal to sell its Brazilian consumer banking assets to Itaś Unibanco Holding SA for ($220 million ($710 million reais).

The sale comprises around $2.8 billion in assets in Brazil and includes credit cards, personal loans and deposit accounts, as well as Citi Brazil's retail brokerage business.

Citi's consumer banking operations in Brazil will continue to operate during the course of the transition to Itaś Unibanco.

Upon the conclusion of the transaction, Citi will continue business in its corporate and investment bank, commercial and private bank businesses in the country.

"Brazil is a strategic market for Citi and is an essential part of our footprint and global network," said Jane Fraser, Citi Latin America CEO.

"We have been in Brazil for more than 100 years and we will continue to grow our market leading franchise serving our institutional and private bank clients, leveraging our global presence and generating better returns on our assets and capital for our shareholders," she added.

In late 2014, Citigroup announced that it was pulling out of consumer banking in 11 markets, as the US bank with the biggest international business, looked to cut persistently-high costs.

The third-largest US bank, built through a series of acquisitions spanning back to the 1980s, had been trying to scale down operations after the 2008 financial crisis in order to emerge as profitable as rivals and had shed hundreds of billions of dollars of bad assets in the process.

The latest exit is the result of studies the lender started in early 2012 to figure out which countries were not profitable enough for retail banking.