NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Financial firms have begun evacuating some foreign staff from Egypt and the nation's central bank ordered banks closed Monday as the political turmoil continues.

Citigroup Inc. (C) evacuated some non-Egyptian employees from the country Sunday night, Barclays PLC (BCS, BARC.LN) and HSBC Holdings Inc. (HBC, HSBA.LN) also both said they had evacuated "a small number" of expatriates, while MetLife Inc. (MET) said it had arranged for families of its expatriate employees to leave.

Citigroup said it has about 600 employees in the country, the "vast majority" of whom are locals, a spokeswoman said Monday morning. Citi helped those foreign national employees who wanted to leave get out Sunday night, she said.

Barlcays said it pulled fewer than 10 employees. HSBC said its expatriates number only about 10 of its 2,100 employees and that it has relocated some of those to Dubai.

"The safety of our employees is our paramount concern," said a Barclays spokesman. "We are doing everything we can."

MetLife said it had been in contact with its 255 employees in the country, and all are secure. Spokeswoman Urszula Murphy said she didn't immediately know how many were expatriates, but said that the insurer had made arrangements for families of the foreign workers to depart.

MetLife's Egyptian operations, which sell life insurance and retirement products, are part of the recently acquired Alico unit the company bought from American International Group Inc. (AIG) late last year.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) said it has about 10 employees in Cairo and that all are safe there.

Branches of all banks in the country are closed, as the Egyptian central bank recommended. Protests in Egypt raged into their seventh day looking to oust long-term President Hosni Mubarak. There have been widening reports of looting and destruction, while the army has attempted to stabilize the country.

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