Citibank Removes Signboard From Iconic Kolkata Office After 121 Years
In what is termed as the ‘end of an era’, Citibank has taken down its signboard from its landmark Kanak Building office on Kolkata’s Chowringhee road. The move comes in the wake of Axis Bank’s acquisition of Citibank’s India consumer business.
Notably, American banking major Citi entered India in 1902 and started the consumer banking business in 1985. It was at the Kolkata office where the bank started its operations in India. However, as part of the rebranding exercise with Axis bank, the landmark signboard has been removed.
Last year, Axis Bank announced it would acquire US-based Citi’s consumer business in India for ₹ 12,325 crores in one of the largest deals in the Indian financial services space, which will help it close the gap with larger peers like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.
“Axis Bank has grown all these years organically and has scaled well. But our aspirations are bigger. This deal gives us that strategic thrust to close the gap between us and some of our peers,” its chief executive and managing director Amitabh Chaudhry told reporters after the deal.
It was in 2021 that Citigroup announced its plans of exiting 13 international consumer banking markets, shifting its focus to wealth management and away from retail banking in places where it is small. ”Citigroup will depart China, India and 11 other retail markets, where “we don’t have the scale we need to compete,” said Citi Chief Executive Jane Fraser.
Not just Citi, several other foreign lenders have cut their presence in the country due to a slew of reasons, including global strategies and technological shifts like automation and online banking.
Earlier in 2012, British banking major Barclays massively scaled down India operations by closing a third of its branches in non-metro areas.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC are some other foreign banks that have either winded up their business in the country or scaled down India operations.