Citi is looking to redouble its efforts to increase the presence of its branches in the United States, CEO Jane Fraser said on Friday at Bernstein’s strategic decisions virtual conference, according to Business intern.
“I don’t believe the branches are dead yet,” she said. “We will be looking at some growth in our footprint in the United States. You will certainly see us have a branch footprint that remains, but we are certainly seeing a lot more dynamism on the digital front. “
Despite being the third-largest bank in the country, Citi is 15th in number of branches, according to Federal Reserve data. However, it has nearly five times as many overseas branches as any other U.S. bank.
It’s the withdrawal from 13 foreign markets that makes the increased focus on the United States possible, Fraser said. “As we look at divestitures in Asia, it will also allow us to focus more on the domestic market, as well as some of the resources, both talented and financial, to be brought to bear in the United States,” Fraser said. .
She used a similar strategy as head of the bank’s Latin American unit in the mid-2010s. Citi has reduced its presence with consumers in some countries in the region to focus and expand its operations in Mexico.
“When we left the Latin American markets and then focused on Mexico, we went from teenage returns to high 20% returns in Mexico, with even more to do,” said Fraser.
She said, however, that Citi’s efforts to refine its strategy and strengthen its risk controls – a mandate from regulators that fined the bank $ 400 million last fall – would take years, but aspects the most important would be completed first.
“We are not going to do so many things that we cannot do it,” she said, according to American banker. “I think sometimes it’s very tempting to spread peanut butter. I don’t really believe in it.”
Fraser said the bank’s strategic backbone would be “more fleshed out” in a year and that its systems overhaul would be “on track,” the publication said.
The announced exit in April of 13 retail markets in Asia and Europe came as the bank planned to hire 1,100 private bankers and relationship managers, and 1,200 other technical and operational staff in Hong Kong and Singapore in the goal to strengthen its assets under management in Asia to $ 450 billion by 2025.
The bank has started hiring financial advisors to expand its wealth management offerings – and it plans to pay them using a fee-based compensation model rather than a commission model, Bloomberg reported Friday.
“I’m not trying to push my own products to customers to maximize manufacturing revenue,” Fraser said. “I just try to serve customers well.”
Fraser has made it clear that she has not only clients in mind, but investors as well.
“In some ways we have a North Star, which is not just what we want to earn,” she said, according to American Banker. “We also realize that we need to deliver the financial results our investors expect from us.”
In addition to expanding the branch footprint in the United States, Fraser said Citi plans to change the way it views its card business.
“We have a number of different partnerships. I see this as an integrated financial model, as parts of the consumer sector are breaking away from the old architecture and regrouping around the new digital architectures,” she said, according to Business Insider. “We’ll see: How do you make a deposit proposal, not just a card, and a consumer loan proposal, not just a card proposal? “”
“There is no quick fix,” she added. “We have recognized that we want to be bigger, both to tackle funding, as well as to reach scale in the United States.”