Citibank Korea investigates both sale and liquidation for consumer banking exit



[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]

Citibank Korea will keep put and liquidation options on hand, although several institutions have expressed interest in acquiring consumer banking services from the foreign name, bending its slow retail business in the country.

The bank will finalize its decision by July, Citibank Korea Inc. said on Thursday after a board meeting held earlier today. It will weigh three options – sell en bloc, wind up for sale, or wind up.

Citibank Korea said a number of financial institutions have submitted letters of intent but none have pledged full employment of existing staff.

Most were concerned about the high cost of labor and the redundant staff structure amid rapid changes in consumer banking services that became rapidly digitized and unstaffed.

One institution reportedly offered to acquire all of the retail banking operations, but could not promise to hire all the staff.

“The board of directors and management have agreed to put the interests of the staff first,” the bank said.

“We will keep various possibilities open to get the best option for our customers and staff and look at phasing out as one of them,” he added.

A number of mid-sized and second-tier financial firms in Korea, including OK and DGB, have been put forward as possible candidates to compete for Citibank Korea’s retail business. The country’s five main financial players – KB, Shinhan, Hana, Woori, NH Nonghyup – have made it clear that they have no interest in the acquisition, whether full or partial.

Citibank Korea offers generous compensation and its employees are mostly seasoned, as the bank has not hired new hires in the personal banking segment in the past 10 years.

The average annual salary per person reached 112 million won ($ 100,169) last year, which would translate into a total severance package of 1,000 billion won.

By Kim Hye-soon and Cho Jeehyun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]



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