Although the U.S. entity, which operates in Spain since 1983, declined to comment, sources close to the operation confirmed to Consenso del Mercado/The Corner on Thursday that Citibank will only keep the wholesale banking in Spain: i.e. corporate and investment, capital market, banking banca privada and transactional banking.
The US entity would retain the wholesale. However, Banco Popular will absorb the card business, contrary to what analysts believed according to the initial road map.
Citi, once the largest U.S. Bank, was bailed-out by Washington in 2008 when the economic crisis blew off, will sell to Banco Popular its 45 branches in Spain, which today are employing 300 workers, as well as its banking for businesses.
“I’d rather be bought by a solid Spanish entity than by some private equity,” sources close to the operation told The Corner on Thursday. “The Popular is a solid, powerful buyer, and it will use this business to continue growing in Spain.”
Citi is following the steps of other large foreign banks like UK’s Lloyds, who also chose to give up a fraction of its business and not to compete with the large local banking groups anymore.
Founded in 1926, the Banco Popular is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is part of the IBEX 35 index. It just absorbed Banco Pastor. In 2013 it recorded a net profit of 325.3 million euros, after completion of prudential provisions amounting to 277 million euros.
The ratio of non-performing loans of the bank chaired by Angel Ron stood at the end of 2013 at 14.27%, compared with 8.98% from a year earlier, while the not real estate default rate reached 7.53%, compared with 5.39% at the beginning of 2013.