Citibank is seeking to sell the consumer banking operations it has operated for a century in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia as South America's three biggest economies suffer a downturn.

The New York-based bank said Friday in a statement that its decision was prompted by a desire to allocate resources where it can generate the best returns. It said it would still continue servicing corporate clients in the countries.

Citibank opened its first foreign branch in Argentina in 1914. Shortly later it added affiliates in Brazil and Colombia.

The bank in 2014 dropped consumer banking in 11 other Latin America nations.

The slowing of China's economy has plunged all three economies into an economic down spiral with Brazil is in its deepest recession since the 1930s.