‘We want to be a winner’

Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, said she had decided to leave the bank’s retail stores in 13 countries outside of the United States in order to improve returns.

One of the top priorities for Fraser, who took over predecessor Michael Corbat in February, is bringing the returns of New York-based Citigroup closer to those of peers like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

“If we look at companies for a decade, we want to be a winner,” CNBC’s Fraser Wilfred Frost told Closing Bell in her first television interview since her official start as CEO.

“We want to close the return gap with our colleagues,” said Fraser. “To do this, make an honest assessment of which of the companies will be able to win and which may be in better hands with another bank.”

Last week, Citi announced that it is leaving its retail banking business in 13 countries outside the US to focus more on wealth management. This is one of Fraser’s first major strategic moves. The lender also reported first quarter results that beat analysts’ earnings estimates, with strong investment banking revenues and an above-expected release of loan loss provisions.

There are clear opportunities for Citigroup, the third largest US bank by assets behind JPMorgan and Bank of America, the CEO said.

The bank “doubles” in areas such as global institutional banking and asset management in Asia and the US, she said.

And Fraser is not finished with its strategic review that could lead to further company divestments. She said: With regard to announcements, “I am sure there will be more,” she said.

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