India's best international bank 2019: Citi
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India's best international bank 2019: Citi


India has been a tricky market for international banks to gauge in the years since the global financial crisis. Some have quit the market entirely while others have drastically streamlined their product range.

Citi has gone the other way, doubling down in south Asia’s dominant economy. It is big, pretty much omnipresent across corporate and investment banking, and profitable, reporting post-tax earnings of $522 million in the 12 months to the end of March 2018.

It is the largest foreign bank in wealth management, with assets under management of $4.9 billion, and the number-one issuer of credit cards among non-Indian lenders, with an 8.52% market share of card spend.

It is also the leading bookrunner on equity and equity-linked issuances, and ranks third, also in volume terms, on completed M&A transactions.

Citi stands apart yet again as the leading foreign player when it comes to electronic cash management and export flows, and is the number-one name in custody, with more than $260 billion in assets.

It boasts the lowest level of gross non-performing loans of all of its big foreign peers, and the biggest balance sheet.

In corporate banking, it is a true powerhouse, serving more than 200 big local firms and over 900 multinationals. In investment banking, it closed the book on another exceptional year. Citi helped clients to raise $27.1 billion across equity, debt and loan markets, and led many of the standout deals of the year.

All that is before we get to its consumer-banking platform, which is underpinned by its impressive array of digital services. Fingerprint and facial ID, seamless online bill payments, paperless investment services, a QR-based solution for credit card payments – they are all available via the bank’s mobile app.

Can any foreign lender realistically compete with Citi onshore? Not on current form.