Citibank could announce today the sale of its consumer business in India

CNBC-TV18 has learned that Axis Bank is set to acquire Citibank’s retail business in India, and the announcement of the deal could happen today.

The agreement, which took several months to prepare, is expected to be just under $2 billion, sources told CNBC-TV18. Sources said the deal could be between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion and will include milestone payments. During the integration period, Citibank has made a commitment to Axis Bank to continue to serve its customers.

While Citibank declined to comment on the deal, CNBC-TV18 has yet to receive a response from Axis Bank, which is expected to hold an after-hours press conference.

According to sources, the deal is expected to include Citibank’s lucrative customer base of 2.6 million credit card holders. Citibank’s consumer banking businesses in India include banking services, credit cards, home loans and wealth management.

There were a lot of players who were in contention. Besides Axis Bank, companies like Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank were very interested in Citibank’s retail banking portfolio.

In April last year, Citibank announced that it would exit the consumer banking business in 13 markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to focus on the four wealth centers of London, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The bank was to come out of India, Australia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

When announcing the exit plan, the bank said it did not see enough scale in the consumer businesses of the 13 markets. Citibank has 35 branches in India with a customer base of around 2.5 million account holders with 1.2 million loan accounts. Citi was among the first banks to introduce Indians to credit cards in 1987.

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