April 1

India’s Axis Bank Accelerates Retail Push With $1.6 Billion Citi Deal

By Chris Thomas and Nupur Anand

Indian private lender Axis Bank has decided to bulk up its credit card and retail businesses with a $1.6-billion purchase of Citigroup Inc’s local consumer banking arm.

The deal announced on Wednesday is Axis Bank’s largest by far and would expand its credit card customer base by 31%, narrowing the gap with the third-biggest player ICICI Bank.

“The acquisition strengthens our market position, reduces gap in key segments with peers and provides opportunity to accelerate retail business growth,” Amitabh Chaudhry, managing director and CEO of Axis Bank, said at a press conference.

Citi was among the first international lenders to introduce credit cards in India in 1987, but its market share, according to Macquarie, has dwindled to 4% from 13% a decade ago.

Photo courtesy of Wonderlane.

Source: U.S. News & World Report (link opens in a new window)

accelerators, business development, scale