Citigroup targets high-growth firms to boost Asia corporate banking business

Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:44am EDT
 
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By Sumeet Chatterjee

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc looks to sharpen its focus on winning a bigger share of business from "emerging market champions" in Asia, including rapidly growing Internet firms, as part of its plans to boost corporate banking revenue.

The U.S. bank, which counts Asia as its fastest growing region, employs more than 600 people in its corporate banking business in the region and would make select hirings to bolster its presence, Gerald Keefe, newly appointed head of Asia Pacific corporate banking, said.

"These companies have achieved scale quickly and now increasingly are growing in developed markets," Keefe said, referring to what the bank calls emerging market champions in countries such as China and India.

Citigroup announced the appointment of Keefe as Asia Pacific corporate banking head in April, a new role that brings together bankers working for clients from financial institutions, public sector entities, corporates and local units of global firms.

"One of the priorities in the new role is to deliver stable top-line growth for corporate banking in Asia in an efficient and responsible manner," Keefe, who was previously the bank's corporate banking head in Japan, told Reuters.

Citigroup's enhanced focus on the corporate banking business in Asia comes against the backdrop of a drop in revenues from trading and deal advisory and underwriting in the first quarter that weighed on its earnings.

Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat indicated last month that the bank's second-quarter net income will be roughly 25 percent lower than the same period a year earlier. The bank is due to report on Friday.

Under the corporate banking business in Asia, its offerings include cash management, foreign exchange, trade finance, loans, and capital markets and structured products solutions. The unit will work closely with investment banking and markets teams.   Continued...

 
A man walks past a branch of Citibank in Beijing, China, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon