Citi eyes growth in RP corp, consumer banking despite economic downturn

Published by rudy Date posted on April 24, 2009

Citibank said it is seeing more opportunities in corporate and consumer banking in the Philippines despite the downscaled forecast in the country’s economic growth.

“We can able to do well with the GDP [gross domestic product] forecast and we’re not affected that much,” Sanjiv Vohra, Citibank country officer for the Philippines, said during a briefing.

“Corporate sector is holding well and growing, giving us opportunities to grow well,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects GDP growth for the Philippines to post flat growth this year mainly due to expected contraction in remittances which in turn would weaken private consumption and slow down economic activities.

Despite the gloomy forecast, the US-based lender would focus on expanding further its market share in consumer banking business by implementing innovations in card products, mobile banking, wealth management, corporate and investment banking as well by maximizing the branch network.

Piyush Gupta, Citi chief executive officer for South East Asia Pacific, said the bank is upbeat about the local consumer lending business, particularly the growing middle class, which is the main market for its car and housing loans.

Besides lending, the bank is also expecting opportunities in the local capital market and mergers and acquisitions arena.

“We are confident that Citi will emerge from the current market turmoil a stronger and more competitive player in Asia Pacific,” he said.

Gupta said the bank’s income and revenues report for Asia Pacific reached $645 million and $3.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, respectively, which nearly doubled over the fourth quarter of last year.

During the first quarter, Gupta said Citi helped its institutional clients raise almost $60 billion from 60 public transactions in on the region.

Meanwhile, the Citigroup’s overall deposit base remained relatively stable at $763 billion in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter last year but it was 8 percent lower from a year ago due to the sale of the German retail banking operations and the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Citigroup’s total global revenues rose by 99 percent year-on-year to $24.8 billion in the first quarter of the year, with sequential improvements across all regions.
— Maricel E. Burgonio, Manila Times

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