Rajesh Mahapatra, AP
New Delhi: Citigroup Inc plans to open more branches and increase its headcount in India, the chief executive of the US bank said, amid media reports that the bank might cut thousands of jobs globally to save on costs.
CEO Charles Prince declined to comment on newspaper reports that Citigroup was planning to shed some 15,000 jobs, or about 5% of its 327,000-strong work force, to improve profitability. Citigroup announced the cost-cutting review plan last year after coming under heavy criticism from investors because its expenses were growing faster than revenue.
Asked about the report in the Wall Street Journal, Prince said: “I have read that. I have no comments.”
He said Monday that the plan would be made public “in a couple of weeks before our (quarterly) earnings announcement on 16 April.”
Prince, who is in New Delhi to review India operations, told reporters that his goal was to increase the share of international business in Citigroup’s total revenue to 60% from its current 45% share.
“I would expect our international business would grow faster than some of our other businesses, but we don’t target one business for another to grow more or less,” he said.
He also denied reports that the company was considering a policy not to fill up some vacancies that come up routinely.
Prince indicated that some back-office work would move to India, where Citigroup already operates large call centre facilities — a practice that most western companies have followed in recent years to cut costs.
“We have tended to expand our back-office activities in India as a benefit to the rest of the world,” he said. “I think you will see us continue to consolidate and simplify our back-offices around the world. Traditionally, India has been a beneficiary of that process.”
Citigroup also plans to open more branches and expand its operations in India, especially in such areas as microfinance, Prince said.
“We have been increasing our headcount right along in India,” he said. “That will continue.”
Citigroup’s India head Sanjay Nayar said the bank has not set any target for headcount growth here and that it would be linked to the expansion of the bank’s Indian business.
The bank added nearly 4,000 staff in India over the past year, raising its headcount to 22,000.
The company’s clientele in India includes about 1,000 large corporations, more than 22,000 small and medium enterprises, and 5.5 million retail customers.