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Popular to buy Citi-Spain

Spain’s Banco Popular will purchase Citi Bank’s retail banking and credit card business in Spain. Popular is Spain’s fifth biggest bank when ranked by market value. Popular will be taking on about 950 employees and 45 branches from Citi in this deal, along with 2 billion Euros ($2.7 billion) in deposits and 1.1 million credit card accounts. Even though the Spanish economy is recovering from the recession, domestic and foreign banks alike are struggling to regenerate profits. Loan defaults are still near an all time high for the country. Banks like Popular are capitalizing on the wave of foreign banks pulling out of the country and using this as a way to expand their business. Britain’s Barclays Bank is also looking for a Spanish buyer to take over their accounts in the country. It is looking to maintain an investment team in Spain but would like to find a buyer for their retail banking sector. So far, Caixabank appears to be the most interested party. Citi said it will still remain in Spain but will focus on expanding its private bank and advising sector there.

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