United Overseas Bank (UOB) is one of at least three potential bidders in the race for Citigroup’s consumer banking assets in Malaysia, according to a report by The Edge Malaysia.

Citi Malaysia’s consumer business comprises credit cards, wealth management and mortgages. Binding bids are expected by the end of the month, industry sources say.

The other potential bidders are Standard Chartered and Malaysia's Hong Leong Bank.

In April, Citi had announced it would exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The move is part of an ongoing review of the company’s strategy, with CEO Jane Fraser stating the bank lacked the scale to compete in those markets.

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Besides Malaysia, the bank will exit its consumer franchises in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Citi Malaysia reported a net profit of RM391.59 million ($126.45 million) for its 1HFY2021 ended June, with a total asset value of RM40.8 billion as of June 30.

Sources say Citi Malaysia’s credit card business is the main draw for potential bidders. The bank is understood to be the third-largest credit card player in the Malaysian market after Maybank and CIMB.

As at 11am, UOB shares are trading up 37 cents or 1.46% higher at $25.77.`