Citigroup is in “active dialogue” to sell its Russian retail business it announced a year ago, Chief Executive Jane Fraser said on Monday.
“We are selling our consumer business and our commercial banking franchise, and we are in active dialogue about it,” Fraser said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Investors fear the sale is in limbo because of economic sanctions Western countries have imposed to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.
Fraser announced in April 2021 that Citi would sell its Russian consumer business, along with a dozen other consumer businesses in the Asian and EMEA markets, which she said were too small to maintain. Since then, Citi has found buyers for many of these businesses.
Fraser also said in the interview that Citigroup will continue to serve multinational corporations in Russia because they need the bank to do business there.
“We’ve stopped asking for new business, new customers. We’re clearly decreasing our exposures, our business,” Fraser said.
Earlier in the day, Fraser had said that Western countries’ use of sanctions as a weapon against Russia is prompting some of Citi’s international clients to explore new ways of conducting trade and finance.
In the Middle East, Fraser said, “you hear customers there talk about the fact that they don’t trust the Western financial order to put all their eggs in that basket going forward, that they’re going to look elsewhere.”
Citigroup is the most internationally diversified of the major US banks, providing commercial finance for corporations and wealth management for billionaires around the world.