Citi’s drive to reduce retail banking operations across global markets is gathering pace with a sale of Banamex reportedly imminent.

Citi put Banamex on the block for disposal in early 2022. Citi said at the time that it remained focused on supporting its institutional clients in international capital markets in Mexico.

Grupo Financiero Banorte dropped out of the competition process following an October 2022 deadline for binding offers.

Grupo Financiero Inbursa the banking group of billionaire Carlos Slim, dropped out of the race for Banamex last November.

The FT reported in February this year that Grupo Mexico was in exclusive talks to acquire Banamex.

Industry analysts initially predicted that Banamex could be valued at $10bn or more. For example, Bank of America analysts suggested last January that the Banamex unit could be worth in the region of $12.5bn to $15bn.

But then the Mexican government intervened, scaring off potential bidders and the forecast sales proceeds dropped.

Grupo Mexico, the mining conglomerate owned by billionaire Germán Larrea, is reportedly eyeing a deal in the region of $7bn.

Banamex: Q1 2023 net income -15% y-o-y

Citi acquired Banamex in 2001. Banamex ended the first quarter of the current fiscal with 1,272 branches and 8,894 ATMs. Banamex has 10.2 million active digital customers, 54% of total customer numbers.  For the three months to end March 2023, Banamex posted net income of MXN4.9bn ($278.6m) down 15% y-o-y. First quarter revenues increased by 10% supported by higher margins. This growth offset the negative impact of market volatility.