Most of the news from Citibank last week was overshadowed by the unexpected departure of Vikram Pandit, but for commercial banking and corporate finance personnel, at least one announcement merits a look back.
For the credit card business as a whole, the competitive environment in China has been challenging, to say the least. Citigroup moved forward last week with its unique positioning as U.S.-based issuer of credit cards in the Chinese market. Consumer cards have been available since earlier this year, and Citi Transaction Services now offers both T&E cards and P-cards for commercial customers. The Renminbi-denominated cards will be branded with China UnionPay and U.S. dollar-denominated cards branded as Visa and MasterCard.
According to Andrew Au, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Citi China:
“The launch of the Citi Commercial Card completes the full suite of our cards offering to meet our corporate and consumer clients spending needs, as we strive to be the most innovative and customer focused financial services provider in China.”
The news is important as a reflection of the continued slow opening of the Chinese card market, and also as a landmark achievement for Citibank’s global commercial card program, now issuing in over 100 countries.
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