NEW YORK — Citigroup will wind down its consumer banking and commercial lending operations in Russia after months of looking for a buyer with Russia increasingly isolated from the Western financial world.
Citigroup said in spring 2021 that it planned to exit Russia, long before it invaded Ukraine and triggered massive sanctions. The invasion has made the sale increasingly difficult.
While no major U.S. bank had a substantial presence in Russia, Citigroup was among the largest. The company said it still had $8.4 billion in exposure to Russian assets, which is down from $9.8 billion at the end of 2021, with roughly 2,300 employees in the country.
“We have explored multiple strategic options to sell these businesses over the past several months,” Titi Cole, CEO of Citi’s Legacy Franchises division, said in a prepared statement Thursday. It’s clear that the wind-down path makes the most sense given the many complicating factors in the environment.”
Citi said it still wants to sell its commercial and consumer banking franchises. Due to sanctions, however, Russia is effectively cut off from Western banks in Europe and the U.S.
The wind down will take approximately 18 months as the bank closes branches and accounts, and ends operations with local vendors in the region, the bank said.