Citigroup has sold its Brazilian consumer finance units to local bank Itaú-Unibanco for R$2.77bn, as the US lender looks to withdraw from part of the country’s fiercely competitive retail banking market.

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Another foreign bank is looking to exit at least part of its business in Latin America – this time Citi with its Brazil credit card division.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico reports that the local branch of Santander and domestic institution Bradesco are interested in the division, called Credicard. The group is said to be looking to sell the card unit and its consumer finance division, Credicard Financiamentos, for R$1bn and R$1.5bn in time to clock the sale in its first quarter results. Read more

Citigroup São Paulo

Photo: Bloomberg

Citigroup’s announcement of sweeping cuts after less than two months under Michael Corbat, the bank’s new chief executive, may have surprised by its timing. Nevertheless, the fact that Citi is paring back or closing down its operations in several emerging markets has an air of inevitability about it.

But is Citi aping HSBC’s plan of focusing on only a few, profitable emerging markets? Or is it dressing up a hurried retreat as a carefully-honed strategy? Read more

Vikram Pandit is banking on the Asian growth story, as the Citigroup chief executive told the FT on his flying visit to HK on Monday.

Well, not just Asia, but the emerging markets of the southern hemisphere in general and their interactions with one another in particular. He is fond of saying that the hub-and-spoke world of the past, based around historic financial centres in the developed world, is giving way to a networked, of which he reckons Citi is already a part. Continue reading here >> Read more

That was quick. Citi has confirmed that come October, South Africa’s governments bonds will be part of Citi’s influential World Government Bond Index. It was only April when South Africa’s inclusion was mooted.

South Africa will be the first ever African country and the fourth emerging market to be included in the index. But the promotion is also significant because it can potentially bring down the cost of borrowing for the country. Read more

At first glance, it looks like this is the week for selling – and buying – Turkish bank stocks.

No sooner does news emerge that Russia’s Sberbank is in exclusive talks to buy Turkey’s DenizBank for up to $4bn, than Citigroup confirms that it has begun selling a $1.15bn stake in Akbank, one of Turkey’s biggest banks. Read more

Good news for South Africa and it’s bond holders. On Tuesday Citigroup announced it may become the 23rd country in its World Government Bond Index later this year.

South Africa’s share of the index will be small – but its inclusion is significant. Read more

Akbank, Turkey’s second biggest bank by market value, is putting a brave face on bad news.

Citigroup, which holds 20 per cent of Akbank, recently said it would be selling more than half of its 20 per cent stake in the bank – for which it paid $3.1bn in 2007 – because of the impact of Basel III rules. So who’s in line to buy? Read more