Thailand's best international bank 2019: Citi
Thailand has never been an easy market for foreign banks to crack: just witness the sale by Standard Chartered Bank of its retail lending business to Tisco Financial Group at the end of 2016. So all the more credit to Citi, which not only stayed for the duration, but has transformed itself into a powerhouse.
With only three full-service branches in the country and a further 31 Citi network branches, the bank was able to notch up a net profit of $142 million for the 2018 financial year. Return on equity was an impressive 16.8% at the end of the year, the highest in its peer group. Citi can justifiably claim to be the only foreign bank with consumer banking businesses and a leading position in credit cards and digital banking.
“Citi (Thailand) has shown that it is possible for a well-disciplined and well-managed bank to operate extremely profitably despite the regulatory challenges faced by all the foreign banks,” says one senior bank analyst in Bangkok.
Citi’s 2,200 local employees provide banking solutions to more than one million customers. Its formidable network of clients includes the government and related entities, global multinationals, leading local corporates and financial institutions, as well as globally minded consumers.
Led by country head Tibor Pandi, Citi has plenty of other strings to its bow. During the awards period, it served as joint dealer-manager for PTT Global Chemical Public Company’s inaugural liability management transaction targeting its $1 billion 4.25% notes due September 2022.
And Citi showed its colours by acting as joint global coordinator and joint lead manager for Bangkok Bank’s successful issue of $1.2 billion of senior unsecured notes, split equally across 5.5-year and 10-year tranches.