Citibank, one of the largest banks in the US, showed stronger interest in Cambodia yesterday when the Bangkok-based Thailand head of the big international bank met with Economy and Finance Minister Kheat Chhon.
Citibank is the consumer banking arm of the financial services giant Citigroup, which as of 2010 was the third-largest bank holding company in the US by total assets, after Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.
After the meeting between Kheat Chhon and Citibank’s Darren Buckley, the ministry’s Mey Vann said it was Citibank’s third visit to check Cambodia’s economic development.
Mey Vann said Citibank recognised that Cambodia had a good investment climate and incentives for foreign direct investment.
“They are seeking expansion in the region. Citibank already has more than 4,000 branches in 160 countries around the world, and they’re targeting Cambodia, Thailand Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar,” he said.
“They are looking for Cambodia to be the strategic central area for their business expansion in Southeast Asia.
“Citibank is also willing to help Cambodia attract more investors.”
Keat Chhon said Cambodia’s financial sector was under development in accordance with a financial development policy plan for the period from 2011 to 2020.
“We will enhance our macro-economy as well as integrate ourselves into the region. Cambodia is chairing ASEAN, so we have become attractive to the private sector for partnership,” he said.
Citibank, established in 1812 in New York, is the third-largest US bank after JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. It has 4,600 branches in 160 countries including Thailand and Vietnam.
National Bank of Cambodia data shows that by the end of June, the Kingdom’s 32 commercial banks had lent a total of US$4.9 billion, up from $3.7 billion at the end of June last year—a rise of 31 per cent.
As well as providing the standard banking services, Citibank sells insurance, issues credit cards and offers investment products.
The bank’s online services division is reputed to be very successful, and is thought to have in excess of 15 million users.
Citibank was rescued by the US government through plans with its parent company, Citigroup, as a result of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Since then, Citibank has repaid its loans in full.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]