Citigroup to Close Boston Branches as Bank Narrows Retail Focus

Citigroup Inc. will close its Boston branches to focus on areas where the lender has a bigger presence just months after describing the city as a key market.

The bank will shut six retail outlets in Boston and an additional 11 in the surrounding area in January, Andrew Brent, a Citigroup spokesman, said Wednesday. Each branch has average deposits of $54 million, compared with $155 million at locations in other priority markets, he said. The company remains committed to branch banking in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, he said.

Citigroup is spending money on “enhancing our digital channels and building a new branch model in our major target markets where we have sufficient scale,” the New York-based bank said in an e-mailed statement. “In Boston, Citi’s retail banking presence does not provide such scale so we are reallocating resources.”

The closings underscore Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat’s evolving strategy for the U.S. consumer business, which has long had a smaller branch footprint than competitors. Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, touted Boston as one of its seven major U.S. cities in a February presentation.

Last year, the lender agreed to sell 41 retail branches in Texas including those in Dallas and Houston to BB&T Corp. Citigroup also has closed branches in Philadelphia.

The bank will continue to offer services to municipalities, companies and high-net-worth clients in the Boston area, according to the statement. Citigroup has more than 2.5 million credit-card customers and 40,000 mortgage borrowers in Massachusetts.

Affected customers will have their deposits transferred to the nearest branch, which will probably be in Connecticut, Brent said.

The Boston Globe reported the branch closings earlier Wednesday.

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