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(LEAD) Citibank Korea chief says no pullout from S. Korea

All Headlines 18:32 June 05, 2017

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SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- Citigroup Inc., a New York-based global investment banking and financial services company, won't withdraw its operations from South Korea, Citibank Korea's chief said.

Citibank Korea "is here to stay and continue investments as necessary to achieve sustainable growth in Korea," Chief Executive Park Jin-hei said Friday in a message to Citibank Korea employees.

There has been market speculation that Citigroup was taking steps to exit from the country when Citibank Korea reduced the number of bank branches or integrated them.

In a meeting with Citigroup's Global CEO Mike Corbat and other executives in New York in late May, Park said he stressed the business potential in South Korea despite the geopolitical tension that's been escalating with multiple rounds of North Korean missile launches on the Korean Peninsula and Citibank Korea labor union's protest against Citigroup's "transformation and the branch network readjustment."

In a sign that Citigroup will continue its business here, he said Citibank Korea will retain the dividends for the business year of 2017 to build a digital platform to strengthen services and offer new consumer banking strategies.

Citigroup entered South Korea in 1967 and introduced "consumer banking" for the first time here. Citi and other multinational banks have struggled with tough local competition amid low rates and a prolonged slump in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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