American banking giant Citigroup has announced that it will sell off its retail banking operations in Mexico, saying it will “focus on investing in businesses that align with its core” strengths.
European banker Santander is reportedly bidding to take over the Citi unit, which represents $44 billion in assets.
The U.S. bank said it will also exit small business and middle market banking operations in the country, where it operates as Citibanamex. The Mexican operations Citi is exiting make roughly $3.5 billion in annual revenue.
However, Citi is not going to exit Mexico completely, it will continue to operate as a locally-licensed banker.
With 1,500 branches and more than 20 million customers, Citigroup is the second-largest bank in Mexico. As of December 2016, it handed approximately 17.5 million transactions daily and maintained more than 7,500 ATMs and 5.7 million credit card accounts.
In 2015, Citigroup similarly closed its consumer business in as many as six countries in Latin America, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.
A year later, it sold its consumer banking business in Argentina to Banco Santander Rio and the Brazilian consumer business to Itaú Unibanco.
Over the past two years, Citi’s executives have often stated that the bank would exit 13 markets across Asia and Europe as part of “simplifying” its operations.