Citigroup Inc., one of the biggest recipients of government bailout funds, is looking to scale back its U.S. retail footprint to just six major metropolitan areas and limit most lending to wealthy customers, according to a published report.
Citi's management is looking to reduce the bank's U.S. consumer lending to mainly credit cards and "jumbo" mortgages, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the situation.
The New York-based bank's executives are expected in October to present plans to the board of directors to pare Citi's retail branch network and concentrate mainly on the New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, the paper said.
Most of Citi's branch locations are located internationally. Citi currently operates about 1,000 U.S. branches, much fewer than the 5,000-plus run by Bank of America Corp. and JP Morgan Chase & Co., which expanded its network with the takeover of Washington Mutual last year. While the moves would be designed to help the bank work "smaller-but-smarter," the paper said some Citi executives are concerned that the U.S. government, which owns a 34 percent stake in Citi, could balk at branch closings.
Citi is looking to sell its 120 branches in Texas and is mulling whether it should continue to maintain a large footprint in cities like Boston and Philadelphia, the paper said. Citi holds few deposits in those locations compared with competitors.