UPDATE 1-In a first, Citi fills global retail role with Asia exec
* Larsen is first Asia-based banker to fill Citi's global retail role
* HK-based Larsen to continue to head Asia Consumer Banking
By Michael Flaherty
HONG KONG, June 27 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc has named Jonathan Larsen as global head of its retail bank, filling the position for the first time with an Asia-based banker, in a move underscoring the company's growth in the region.
Citigroup's consumer bank is one of its three main divisions in Asia, having merged its corporate and investment bank into one unit after 2008. The third pillar is its steady, cash-generative global transactions services (GTS) business, which handles such tasks as cash management and trade finance.
After its stock fell below $1 amid the 2008 banking crisis, prompting a U.S. government bailout, the bank has climbed back, with Asia generating more and more of the bank's revenue.
Citi's 2011 net income in Asia totalled $3.9 billion: consumer banking made $1.9 billion, securities and banking made $895 million, while GTS brought in $1.1 billion, according to company figures. First-quarter profit this year in Asia made up 37 percent of the company's total.
Larsen, a 25-year industry veteran, will be based in Hong Kong and will continue to serve as head of Asia Consumer Banking, according to an internal memo.
New York-based Citi launched a new branch strategy in 2010 - a technology-heavy project called Smart Banking - aimed at offering customers a faster experience inside the bank. The initiative was first launched in Asia and has since opened new 100 branches in the region.
Citi has about 700 branches in Asia, with $200 billion in assets under management. Its shares hit a year-to-date low of $24.60 earlier this month and closed at $26.70 on Tuesday.
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