Private lender Yes Bank is exploring a potential bid for the Indian retail assets of Citibank, joining a list of suitors eyeing the local operations of the foreign bank that is partially exiting 13 countries.

Yes Bank will look at acquiring Citi’s retail assets, including credit cards and wealth management in India, chief executive Prashant Kumar said.

“We would definitely explore that opportunity; I think they are running a process. Once all of that is in the public domain, we would definitely like to explore not only credit cards but also wealth management and retail business. Then, depending on our appetite, we would take a call," Kumar said in an interview.

Citibank India has 35 branches and serves 2.9 million retail customers, including 1.2 million bank accounts and 2.2 million credit card accounts. It has a 6% market share of retail credit card spends in India. Yes Bank has a credit card base of 947,000, with spends at ₹2,288 crore as on 31 March.

Over the last year, Kumar has been making efforts to rebuild the bank amid challenges posed by covid. The bank reported a 33% growth in retail term deposits from a year earlier, 60% growth in corporate term deposits and 50% growth in current and savings accounts (Casa) in fiscal 2021.

While its loan book shrank 3% in 2020-21, Kumar is confident of clocking a 15% credit growth in FY22. “Even if you see this year, there would have been credit growth. It is not shown in the number because we have made accelerated provision," said Kumar, adding that in the March quarter, the bank disbursed ₹15,000 crore in loans, of which ₹3,500 crore went to corporates, and the rest to retail and small business borrowers.

“Getting a growth of ₹50,000 crore (in FY22) is easily achievable for us. Post-recoveries, we will have a net growth of ₹30,000 crore, which is a little less than 20%," he added.

However, the bank’s asset quality continues to be under pressure, with gross non-performing assets as a percentage of total loans hovering above 15%. The bank’s plan to further clean up the soured loan book by setting up an asset reconstruction company is facing a roadblock after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) turned down the proposal. Kumar said the bank will be able to survive the second covid wave, aided by buffers it has built for future impact. Its provision coverage ratio currently stands at 78.6%.