UOB completes acquisition of Citigroup’s Vietnam consumer banking business

The transition for customers from Citigroup Vietnam to UOB Vietnam is expected to take 12 to 18 months. PHOTO: UOB

SINGAPORE – UOB said on Wednesday that it has completed the acquisition of Citigroup’s consumer banking business in Vietnam, including the transfer to UOB Vietnam of some 575 staff related to the business there.

This comes after Singapore’s third-largest bank completed the acquisition of Citigroup’s consumer units in Thailand and Malaysia in November 2022.

UOB said in January 2022 that it would pay close to $5 billion for Citigroup’s consumer banking franchise in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – a move that would allow it to “scale up its business in four key regional markets at one go”.

The consumer business comprises Citigroup’s unsecured and secured lending portfolios, wealth management and retail deposits businesses.

UOB said during its results briefing on Feb 23 that its retail customer base has expanded to nearly seven million in the region, with the addition of 1.3 million net customers from Citi Malaysia and Citi Thailand.

It expects the acquisition of Citigroup’s Indonesian consumer banking business to be completed by the end of 2023.

Once completed, the acquisitions will likely double UOB’s retail customer base in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, and add 5,000 staff to the bank’s workforce. 

Deputy chairman and chief executive Wee Ee Cheong said on Feb 23 that the deal is expected to add $1 billion to UOB’s revenue in 2023, and gives the bank “significant untapped potential” for its wealth management business.

On Wednesday, he said that early results of the acquisition have surpassed the bank’s expectations, adding: “We look forward to accelerating the expansion of our retail business in Vietnam, which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.”

UOB Vietnam has appointed Mr Fred Lim as its head of retail transformation, channels and digitalisation, and business banking; and Mr Paul Kim as head of personal financial services.

The transition for customers from Citigroup Vietnam to UOB Vietnam is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

During this period, Citigroup Vietnam’s consumer banking customers can continue to enjoy product offerings, services and benefits, and a wider range of solutions from UOB’s larger franchise, said UOB.

“Existing UOB Vietnam customers will also benefit from an expanded suite of unsecured products, including credit cards and unsecured personal loans, which complement UOB’s existing lending solutions,” it added.

UOB Vietnam CEO Victor Ngo said that the country is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asean and is a strategic market for the bank as it deepens its focus and investment in the region.

“For its retail business in Vietnam, UOB is looking forward to offering consumers from the middle-income to affluent and high-net-worth segments an improved suite of banking products,” he said, adding that UOB Vietnam will shore up its digital capabilities to acquire and serve its larger customer base.

UOB was the first Singapore bank to establish a foreign-owned subsidiary in Vietnam in 2018. It has offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and also offers Internet and mobile banking services.

It set up a foreign direct investment advisory unit in Vietnam in 2013 to support regional clients investing in the country.

The bank also injected fresh capital of 2 trillion dong (S$113 million) into UOB Vietnam in 2021.

This was to speed up efforts to build digital capabilities to cater to retail and corporate customers, and grow its sustainable finance and offshore and trade financing solutions.

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