Money & Banking

Axis Bank leads race for Citi’s India retail business

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Dec 20, 2021

Axis Bank’s bid is understood to have been the highest. | Photo Credit: Balaji W S@Chennai

Citigroup had in April announced its decision to exit its consumer banking operations in India

Private sector lender Axis Bank is leading the race for Citi’s India retail business, with a final outcome expected in the coming weeks.

Axis Bank’s bid is understood to have been the highest.

“Talks are on but it is yet to be finalised. It could take some more time to fructify,” said a person familiar with the discussion.

Axis Bank did not respond to an email query from BusinessLine .

“We continue to move forward with our process with respect to our India consumer business sale in accordance with our broader strategic refresh,” said a Citi India spokesperson in response to an email query from BusinessLine .

Citigroup had, in April, announced its decision to exit its consumer banking operations in India as part of an ongoing strategic review, which was part of strategic actions in global consumer banking across 13 markets.

Top banks in fray for Citi’s India credit card business

A handful of top domestic lenders, including Kotak Mahindra Bank, were interested in Citi’s India retail business.

With most lenders focussing on the retail business, acquisition of Citi’s India retail business would further expand their reach and create more opportunities.

Banks have also been focussing on onboarding more credit card customers and increasing spends, an area of strength for Citi.

Citi’s consumer banking business in the country includes banking, credit cards, home loans and wealth management. It had about three dozen branches and about 29 lakh retail customers as on March 31, 2020.

It had 25,83,507 outstanding credit cards and 15,88,092 debit cards by October-end 2021. However, its customer base has shrunk from 26,21,899 outstanding credit cards and 16,48,634 debit cards as of April-end 2021.

Axis Bank is one of the top private sector lenders. A report by Motilal Oswal, after the bank’s second quarter results, had said that its retail business franchise has strengthened, with the share of retail loans improving to about 56 per cent of total loans – led by home loans.

Published on December 20, 2021
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