After more than 50 years in Taiwan, the U.S. banking giant Citibank is making an exit. Citibank has announced plans to quit the consumer banking business in 13 markets across Europe and Asia, including Taiwan. Currently the bank has 2.8 million retail customers and more than 4,000 employees across the country. Although it hasn''t given a timeframe for its departure, a big question now looms about the impact of its exit on its customers and workforce.

Visibly anxious, these customers have come to the bank to get information. News of Citibank’s withdrawal from the Taiwan market has raised concerns among its clients.

Citibank first arrived in Taiwan in 1964. It was the first foreign financial institution in the country to issue credit cards. Today it has 45 branches nationwide and serves 2.8 million retail customers, who conducted some NT$16.7 billion in transactions in March.

Voice of Lin Chih-chi
FSC Banking Bureau
If there is to be an adjustment to its services, a business plan must be submitted to us. We will then conduct a review based on the contents of that plan.

Citibank has issued a statement, saying it has no timeline for its withdrawal. In the meantime, there will be no changes to its services, and there will be no immediate impact on company employees.

Huang Shih-tsung
Finance expert
This has to do with a restructuring at Citibank. They’ve provided both consumer and business services, but after the past several years of operations, they may have found that the business service is more profitable.

The expert said that Taiwan’s crowded consumer banking sector has been cutting into profits for Citibank. The bank is set to withdraw from the retail market, and instead focus its attention on its institutional clients group. It currently has more than 4,000 employees, who now face an uncertain future.

Voice of Shih Chen-su
Taipei City Department of Labor
If a company needs to do a mass layoff, it must notify the labor bureau 60 days before doing so. It must provide a plan, and within 10 days of providing that plan, it must reach an agreement with its employees.

Taipei’s labor department says Citibank must provide it with a comprehensive plan. Meanwhile, the Development Bank of Singapore has expressed interest in acquiring Citibank''s consumer division. With the golden age of consumer banking behind it, Citibank must now forge a new path forward – one that hopefully does not leave its thousands of bank workers behind.