Philippines' best international bank 2020: Citi
Citi faces tough competition in the Philippines, particularly from southeast Asian banks hoping to expand their network. But the US bank remains the stand-out foreign player in the country.
Under the leadership of country officer Aftab Ahmed, Citi ranked first among debt capital market bookrunners during our awards period, according to Dealogic. That leading position has proved particularly useful as Philippine corporates have recently been clamouring to get access to the dollar bond market.
Citi led transactions including Philippine National Bank’s $750 million international bond market return and Jollibee Foods Corporation’s $600 million debut in the dollar bond market. Citi proved its sustainability credentials, working as the structuring adviser on the Bank of the Philippine Islands’ green finance framework and subsequent $300 million green bond.
The bank has also proved itself a reliable partner during the pandemic, providing critical services for its clients to make sure that their businesses and personal lives keep moving, despite the lockdown. For example, it has offered its customers payment holidays and tenor extensions on personal loans and credit cards, as well as other fee waivers and grace periods for interest and fee reversals for credit card holders.
The bank’s digital presence is a strong selling point. Citi’s corporate clients have been able to open accounts digitally. The bank has adapted its credit card delivery services to allow activation and use through its mobile app, allowing customers to keep purchasing even when their physical card is tied up in the post. And in 2019, Citi launched Citibank Global Wallet, allowing its clients to hold up to eight currencies at once and to shop without conversion fees.
Proof of its outstanding digital offerings comes from how many of its clients now use them. More than 75% of its clients are digitally enrolled, and mobile use among the bank’s Philippine customers was up 22% over the 12-month awards period. Digital acquisition in Citi’s credit cards grew rose 127% in 2019 from the previous year.