Citibank closes branches but it isn’t leaving KoreaCitigroup announced on April 15 that it will shut its consumer operations in 13 markets, including Korea.
This move is intended to help Citigroup achieve global competitive advantages and simplify its business in the long run, and is not based on its performance or capabilities in any particular country.
The company will review and implement optimal plans for customers and employees in Korea, while reorganizing and strengthening its Korean businesses centered on corporate banking.
This means that Citibank Korea will continue its role as a global financial partner without any change, having contributed to the Korean economy and financial development for over half a century.
Citibank Korea entered the Korean market in 1967, opening its first corporate banking branch in Sogong-dong, central Seoul.
Built on the success of its corporate banking business, the bank became the first overseas bank to launch consumer operations in Korea in 1986, and the first private banking services in 1989, leading the introduction of new financial systems to the Korean financial market.
In terms of corporate banking, Citibank Korea offered a syndicated loan worth 800 billion won in 2000, the largest of its kind in Korean history.
Furthermore, to help domestic companies enter the U.S. market, Citi started operating a Korea Desk in New York in the 1990s. Now located in major cities around the world, the bank’s Korea Desk has assisted Korean companies with diverse global financial solutions.
Citibank Korea has contributed to the Korean economy in overcoming multiple crises. The bank received the order of diplomatic service merits Sungnye Medal and Heungin Medal from the Korean government in recognition of its contribution during the 1970s oil crisis and the 1997 financial crisis.
The bank also increased capital by $800 million during the 2008 financial crisis, helping stabilize the domestic foreign exchange market and conclude a currency swap deal between the United States and Korea.
Moreover, Citibank Korea has reached out to those who are in need of a helping hand.
As the first company to sign a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Korea, Citi launched “Citi Building Hope & Home” in 1998, a program to build houses for families in need.
It also operated Korea’s first non-governmental organization internship program jointly with KyungHee University and provided financial education to teenagers through the “Think Money” program, in cooperation with the National YWCA of Korea, both since 2006.
Citi has partnered with Ewha Womans University to conduct the “Ewha-Citi Global Finance Academy” to educate and cultivate young women since 2001.
“Since Citi opened its first branch in Korea in 1967 and launched Citibank Korea Inc. in 2004, it has been convincingly committed to Korea over the past 50 years,” an official at Citibank Korea said.
“As a trusted financial partner, we intend to make further contributions to the growth and development of Korean society through long-term social and other contributions as well as through investment in the Korean financial market.”
By Shin Ha-nee [firstname.lastname@example.org]