Monday, October 17, 2005

MUMBAI, Oct 17 Asia Pulse – Citigroup CEO Charles Prince wants the US banking major to grab a larger slice of India’s micro finance sector in order to generate more business for its local banking operations.

The group will continue to look at organic growth in India and appoint more people there, Prince said.

“We have long presence in India having more than 100 years of operations here. Our operations have been nice so far. However, we can do a lot more,” he said, while dedicating Citigroup Centre for Financial Literacy to the Indian School of Microfinance for Women here.

He, however, did not specify what kind of market share it would look for in India in the years to come. “We have no specific target, we have to grow a lot,” he said.

Asked the reason to foray into the micro finance sector, Prince said it was to strengthen the rural economy, which would ultimately assist Citibank.

“The stronger the market, the better we grow,” he said.

The bank would initially roll out the programme in three cities in Southern India and as a test project.

In India, he said, Citigroup would continue to inject capital into India as and when opportunity comes its way. With over US$1 billion in capital, Citigroup has a customer base of 1,000 large corporates, 22,000 small and medium enterprises and 5.5 million retail customers.

“India has been a very strong growth line as far as Citigroup is concerned. We are very bullish on our growth in India,” he said.

The bank has a network of 37 branches and 400 state-of-the-art ATMs across 26 cities of the country.

Source: Asia Pulse News (link opens in a new window)