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Citigroup 'may withdraw operations in 21 countries'

Citigroup is considering withdrawing its underperforming operations in 21 countries across the world, it has emerged.

Michael Corbat, chief executive officer at the major US banking group, has indicated that the company is concerned about some of its least-efficient divisions and is therefore looking into either reducing involvement or removing itself altogether from these areas.

During a presentation given at the 2013 US Financial Services Conference yesterday (5 March), Mr Corbat explained that this group of nations - which is thought to include Uruguay, Turkey and Pakistan - produce an "unsustainable" return on assets of around 0.4 per cent.

"If there is not a clear path to acceptable returns, we intend to significantly scale back or exit certain business lines," he added.

Such action would represent a furthering of the restructuring plans and policies Mr Corbat has been implementing since he took over from Vikram Pandit as CEO last year.

By Tony Aynsley