The sudden departure this week of Deborah McWhinney, head of Citigroup's personal banking and wealth management unit, raises concerning questions for brokers, advisors, customers and the firm's executive management team as it embarks on a search for her replacement and, more important, its strategy for the highly coveted mass-affluent market.

McWhinney, who joined Citi in March 2009 after a successful run atop Schwab Institutional, will now take over as head of Citi's Global Digital Merchant Acquiring group, according to an internal Citi memo circulated Monday, reporting to Paul Galant, CEO of Citi's global enterprise payment group.

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