Citi aims for growth in Brazil

|By:, SA News Editor

Citigroup (C) has recently sold off retail banking operations in Greece and Spain, but it's looking for growth in Brazil and hopes to boost its customer base there by 5% this year and again in 2015.

Citi has shifted focus to 150 global cities with the highest potential for consumer-banking growth and Brazil has three on the list: Sao Paulo, Rio, and Belo Horizonte. The bank's focus, says Helio Magalhaes - the President of the Brazil unit - will be on better-off customers, and Citi plans to open a flagship branch in Sao Paulo's financial center.

The only U.S. bank with retail branches in Brazil, Citi has 350K retail customers and 50K corporate clients, the same numbers as in 2012. The bank also has about 1M credit cards in-country under the Citi and Diner's Club brands (the Credicard unit with 4M cards was sold last year).