Citigroup plans to exit retail banking in Argentina and Brazil, where the company has maintained operations for more than 100 years, a person familiar with the matter said.
The departures will probably be announced in coming weeks, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing decisions that haven't been made public. Liz Fogarty, a spokeswoman for the New York-based bank, declined to comment on the plans.
Chief Executive Michael Corbat has been scaling back Citigroup's retail footprint to simplify the company, cut costs and boost returns. He announced plans in October 2014 to drop consumer banking in 11 markets, including Peru, Costa Rica and four others in Central and South America.
The person didn't say which businesses Citigroup might continue offering in Argentina and Brazil. When the bank agreed to sell its consumer-banking unit in Japan to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking in 2014, Citigroup still provided corporate and investment-banking services to clients. The bank, which gets more revenue from outside its home market than any of its U.S. competitors, operated branch networks in 24 countries as recently as September.
The move is one of the most sweeping since consumer-banking chief Stephen Bird took over in June from Manuel Medina-Mora, who retired. Jane Fraser, who had also been in the running for Medina-Mora's job, runs the Latin America region from Miami.
The Argentina unit opened in 1914 and was Citi's first non-U.S. branch, according to Citigroup's website. It has more than 2,700 employees in the country, 71 branches and $3 billion in assets.
Argentina's economy has been struggling after years of currency controls and policies that discouraged investment. The country has been unable to tap international bond markets because of a feud with creditors left over from the nation's 2001 default.
Citigroup had about 6,000 employees in Brazil as of 2014, a company executive said at the time. It operates 71 branches in Brazil, where it began banking in 1915, with $20 billion in assets.