Citigroup Sells Uruguay Unit to Itau as Corbat Retreats

Citigroup Inc., the third-biggest U.S. lender by assets, agreed to sell its retail banking operations in Uruguay to Itau Unibanco Holding SA as Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat scales back in some countries.

Itau will get a portfolio of more than 15,000 customers in Uruguay for an undisclosed amount that “is not material,” the Sao Paulo-based lender said in a statement posted today on its website. Most of the assets in the deal are tied to Citigroup’s credit-card operations, which made up about 6 percent of the market in that country last year, according to the statement.

Corbat, 53, is exiting or scaling down Citigroup’s operations in some of its markets outside the U.S. as he seeks to eliminate costs at the New York-based lender. He announced plans last year to pull back from consumer operations in five countries including Uruguay, is mulling a withdrawal from businesses in a further 21 countries, and agreed to sell the Credicard unit in Brazil to Itau last month.

“Citi has been operating in Uruguay for almost a century and is committed to serving its corporate and investment banking clients there while maintaining its commitment towards the economic and social development of the country,” Anthony Ingham, a spokesman for Citigroup, said in an e-mailed statement.

Paulo Marinho, a spokesman for Itau, declined to provide any further comment on the deal.

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