Citigroup plans closure of Municipal business

In a move aimed at recalibrating its financial operations, Citigroup has decided to shutter its municipal underwriting and market-making activities. The decision, outlined in a memo signed by Citigroup’s Head of Markets, Andy Morton, and Interim Head of Banking, Peter Babej, reflects the bank’s commitment to enhancing overall returns. According to the memo, the economics of these specific activities have become untenable within the broader financial landscape, prompting the move.

The bank anticipates completing the unwinding process of the unit during the first quarter, with a simultaneous departure of most personnel associated with these activities. This decision aligns with Citigroup’s broader strategy to optimise its business portfolio, ensuring a sustainable and profitable model in an evolving financial environment.

It’s worth noting that discussions about the future of the municipal underwriting and market-making unit have been ongoing. Last month, a notable team of bankers decided to make a move to Jefferies, underlining the complexities and considerations involved in reshaping this segment of Citigroup’s business.

The move to close municipal underwriting and market-making activities comes amid evolving regulatory landscapes and changing economic dynamics. Citigroup, like other major financial institutions, is constantly evaluating its operations to ensure competitiveness and adaptability. In this context, the decision to close these specific units is part of a broader effort to align the bank’s activities with its commitment to generating increased returns for its stakeholders.

This strategic recalibration is not the first notable development for Citigroup in recent times. The municipal offering business of the bank has faced scrutiny, particularly in Texas. Earlier this year, the Texas attorney general intervened, halting Citigroup’s ability to underwrite most municipal bond offerings in the state. The attorney general cited allegations that the bank had discriminated against the firearms sector.

As Citigroup navigates these changes, the closure of municipal underwriting and market-making activities is positioned as a forward-looking measure to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance overall profitability. The bank remains focused on adapting to the evolving financial landscape while adhering to regulatory requirements and optimising its business portfolio for sustained success.

This decision is part of a broader trend in the financial industry where institutions are strategically reassessing their business lines to ensure they align with the changing economic and regulatory environment. As Citigroup undergoes this adjustment, the industry will be keenly observing how other major players might adapt to similar challenges and opportunities in the financial landscape.

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