Citigroup Inc.(NYSE:C) has planned to close down nearly half its branch network in Greece, where retail banking activity has emaciated because of the debt crisis that the country is facing.
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Citigroup is the last chief international bank with a national prominence in Greece. It will cut its network to 21 branches from 37 by closing down all branches located outside Thessaloniki and Athens. Almost 170 jobs will go, which is about a tenth of the lender’s total labor force in the nation.
A spokeswoman for Greek operations of Citibank said that the present business and economic environment needs adaptability. The bank is planning on focus more on credit cards, deposit products and investment.
Other foreign banks like Credit Agricole and Societe Generale have sole the Greek businesses they purchased during the time when the nation was going through an economic explosion.
However, since Greece’s debt crisis took hold in the late 2009, lending has reduced and non-performing loans have rocketed partially due to severity measures under the nation’s global bailout and also from the deepest recession in the country since World War II.
Citigroup had made it to Greece in 1964. It had a smaller-scale prominence as compared to the French banks and did not purchase a local lender.
A number of other foreign companies have made their way out of Greece completely due to the crisis, including French retail giants like Saturn Hansa, Fnac and Carrefour.
Costa Coffee, the coffee shop chain based in the UK, has terminated operations at its Greek stores earlier this week. Other foreign companies, like Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA are cutting expenses.
Lower labor costs due to austerity measures inflicted by the international lenders in the country. They may be starting to draw logistics and manufacturing jobs.
HP has agreed previous week to use the biggest port in Greece as a transport heart for southeast Europe and North Africa.