SINGAPORE, Jan 15 (Reuters): Citigroup Inc reported a 26% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday, reeling from weakness at its consumer banking arm and a surge in expenses driven by costs stemming from the exit of its retail businesses in Asia. The lender has been shedding the last of its consumer businesses outside of the United States as part of a “strategy refresh” started by Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser, who took the helm in March. It has also spent more in the past few quarters to fix issues regulators identified in its controls systems, leading to questions from investors on how much money and time the remedies will require. In the fourth quarter, the bank’s operating expenses surged 18% mainly due to costs tied to the exit of retail banking operations in South Korea, a move announced in October. The bank said this week it would wind down its massive consumer bank in Mexico and earlier on Friday announced the sale of its retail arms in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to Singapore-based lender United Overseas Bank. Its costs have also risen due to a battle for talent on Wall Street that has prompted global banks to offer perks… Read full this story
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