(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Citibank Korea's official announcement)
SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- Citibank Korea Inc., the Korean unit of U.S. banking giant Citigroup, said Monday that it will close its retail banking services "in phases" in line with a global business reorganization drive.
Citibank Korea held a board meeting on Friday and made the decision to pull out from consumer banking in South Korea. In April, Citigroup said that it will exit consumer banking operations in 13 markets, including South Korea, as part of its global business reorganization.
Citibank Korea's board of directors "approved to wind down Citi's consumer banking business in Korea, as part of the bank's global strategy refresh announced on April 15. The decision was made after a comprehensive review of all offers," Citibank Korea said in a press release.
Citibank Korea said that it will carry out a voluntary retirement program for its employees in consultation with the local union, while pushing to reassign those who have worked in the soon-to-be-closed service area to other fields.
The bank will also plan to minimize any inconveniences for customers through close coordination with financial authorities and maintain services until relevant contracts with depositors expire.
"Citibank Korea will comply with the applicable laws, regulations and procedures during the process to minimize any inconvenience to our customers and implement employee protection measures, including voluntary retirement program," Yoo Myung-Soon, CEO of Citibank Korea, said in the press release.
"We have been in Korea for more than half a century and are committed to supporting growth and progress in the country. We will continue to invest in and grow our market leading institutional franchise in the country," she added.
South Korea's Financial Services Commission said that it will take necessary measures in an active manner to protect customers from the planned closure of Citibank Korea's retail banking services.
Citigroup opened its first branch in South Korea in 1967 and launched Citibank Korea in 2004 after acquiring KorAm Bank.