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Citi to keep expanding in India, China

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 13:07

Washington: Citigroup Inc`s Indian American chief executive Vikram Pandit says he hopes to continue expanding the bank`s business in the two biggest engines of growth in Asia, China and India, despite tough local restrictions.
The bank wouldn`t retreat from fast-growing Asian businesses even as the financial crisis has forced it to shrink its balance sheet by about 25 percent, he told Wall Street Journal in an interview at Citigroup`s Hong Kong headquarters Monday.

"There`s no question in our mind that Asia is going to represent a disproportionate amount of the world`s growth over the next decade," he said adding, that will result in big opportunities for Citi to expand its presence in trade finance, custody business and cross-border cash flows, "The intra-Asia flows are going to grow exponentially," said Pandit, 52, who has held the top job at Citi since December 2007.

Citing Citi`s efforts to help American homeowners and credit-card holders who are having trouble making their payments, he acknowledged "a significant responsibility" on Citi`s part to help be "an integral part of the American recovery."

But "now it`s the turn for the foreign consumer to rise," he said as cited by the Journal, and American businesses can help with the US recovery through exports to overseas consumers.

Pandit also dismissed suggestions that competitors speaking ill of Citi`s bailout from Washington are affecting the business. "I`ve usually found that you don`t win business by talking down somebody," he said.

There are points in time, Pandit said, when companies in one part of the world need loans and liquidity available from elsewhere in the world. "That`s the business that we`re in," he was quoted as saying by the Journal.

However, he added that the safety and soundness of its local businesses was critical and Citigroup worked closely with regulators everywhere it operates.


First Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 13:07
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