Citigroup says plans sale of Turkish retail banking business

ISTANBUL Wed Dec 5, 2012 12:31pm EST

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Citigroup is looking at the possible sale of its consumer banking business in Turkey, leaving it to focus on corporate and commercial banking in the country, its local unit said on Wednesday.

A source familiar with the matter said the bank had already held talks on a possible deal.

Citigroup said earlier it was cutting 11,000 jobs worldwide to save as much as $1.1 billion a year in costs, and that plan would include selling or significantly scaling back its consumer operations in Turkey.

"As part of its global strategy ... Citi has started to evaluate options for the sale of its retail banking operations in Turkey," Citi Turkey said in a statement.

Citi has more than 2,000 staff in Turkey, where it operated its first branch in 1981. It launched its consumer banking business there in 1996 and in 2006 bought a 20 percent stake in Akbank, the country's largest privately owned bank, but sold half that stake in May.

It first started doing business in Turkey in 1975, offering corporate banking services, and launched commercial banking services in 1998.

(Reporting by Asli Kandemir in Istanbul and Steve Slater in London; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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