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SBI, Private Banks Rush in Race for Citi’s Card Business After Bank’s Decision to Quit Indian Market

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Citi Bank’s decision to quit the Indian market has thrown up an opportunity for domestic private banks that are looking to scale up their credit card business.

Amid this, the subsidiary of State Bank of India- SBI cards witnessed its share price jump 7.5% by the close of trade on BSE on Friday.

A Times of India (TOI) report stated that as per the payments industry sources, the biggest player in the card business- HDFC Bank is hamstrung by the restrictions placed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on acquiring fresh customers. SBI cards is also seen as a contender for Citi’s cards business.

Macquarie Capital research analyst Suresh Ganapathy told TOI that Citi is likely to sell individual business segments to different players. And multiple banks are interested in the card business. “We believe smaller players like RBL, IDFC First Bank, etc, could be more aggressive in terms of bidding for the credit card book.”

Citigroup announced on Thursday that it will be exiting 13 international consumer banking markets, including India and China as part of its global strategy. The company said it will focus its global consumer banking business on four markets- Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and the United Arab Emirates.

Citi India’s Chief Executive Ashu Khullar has assured that there will be no immediate impact of the decision on its employees and operations in India. “There is no immediate change to our operations and no immediate impact to our colleagues as a result of this announcement. In the interim, we will continue to serve our clients with the same care, empathy, and dedication that we do today,” he told PTI.

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