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Citibank's Global Adventures

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Citibank is the third largest bank in the United States, after JP Morgan and Chase. With the Citigroup Inc. splitting into Citicorp, and Citi Holdings, Citibank became a part of Citicorp. While Citicorp engages in regional consumer banking and institutional clients, Citi Holdings deals with the assets and businesses that the bank looks at selling or running. With over 16,000 offices in 140 countries worldwide, Citigroup Inc. boasts the world's largest financial services network.

The company caters to the needs of consumers and corporate customers alike. Through its extensive product portfolio, Citigroup Inc. provides consumer finance, retail banking products like savings and investment, investment banking, mortgage lending, cash management and commercial banking. Products and services are offered through its subsidiaries and branches present in several countries including the UK, China, Germany, India, Japan, Thailand, Canada and Vietnam.

Despite a strong global presence, Citibank has been witnessing turbulent times since 2008. However, though it got butchered in the US, the bank's international market did well in 2010. Growth in revenues was registered, especially in the emerging markets. Though Citicorp's retail banking sector posted profits, other sectors incurred losses and continued to suffer. These losses can be partly attributed to the sheer number of financial service providers in the market including Bank Of America, Deutsche Bank, Federal Reserve Bank Of New York, Franklin Resources, HSBC Holdings, JP Morgan Chase, Corporation Bank, etc. Apart from the global banks, Citigroup also has to contend with competition from the nationalized banks of the countries where it has its subsidiaries.

Severe competition in the global banking sector is the biggest threat that looms over Citigroup's head. Also, people in countries like India and China may not trust an MNC bank the way they would trust their nationalized banks. Fluctuating foreign exchange in certain countries, and regulatory forces in certain jurisdictions also eat into the company's revenues. Being bound by laws and regulations of the location in which it operates, Citigroup risk losses, as non-compliance might translate to damages and penalty. These factors, along with the recession-hit US banking sector, have made it difficult for Citigroup to regain lost ground.

Citibank, which was once the largest bank in the world, now occupies the 24th position, with HSBC topping the chart. To reclaim its lost position, Ctibank should concentrate on opportunities present in the market. Citigroup can look at establishing itself in emerging economies like the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, and India) countries. Click Citi offers a great opportunity to attract people disconcerted at the thought of revealing their financial information online, and hence shy away from internet banking. It can also move towards improving technology to facilitate user-friendly internet and mobile banking.
The future of Citibank does not seem bleak altogether. HSBC has decided to depart from retail banking in Russia, and has declared Citibank as its preferred tenderer for its Russian retail operations. Citibank will also look at stabilizing itself in Brazil and China. The CEO of Citigroup, Vikram Pandit, managed to sell the bad assets held by Citibank, and repay the $ 45 billion bail-out money Citibank owed the government. His future plans include showing investors that Citibank is capable of moving from recovery to growth.

- Will Vikram Pandit be successful in gaining the trust of investors?
- Will shareholders stick on with Citibank, or, will they move over to banks like JP Morgan, which have declared substantial earnings in Q2 of 2011?
- Will Citibank be given a second chance?

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