U.S. banking giant Citigroup intends to spend US$1.5 billion over the next four years to boost its technology systems and back-office support in Mexico, as part of a wider plan to encourage lending in the North American country.
Chief Executive Michael Corbat, who spoke at a convention at the company headquarters in Mexico, said the bank will invest capital in new technologies, data centers and other physical infrastructure.
Citibank, it seems, wants to cash in on Mexico’s reformed energy sector, which is widely expected to draw in deep-pocketed global energy firms in the months ahead. Corbat also spoke of setting aside US$4 billion for lending to small and medium-sized businesses in Mexico.
Citigroup’s Mexican unit is known as Banamex. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Mexican unit has consistently produced more than US$1 billion a year in net income, even during the global financial crisis, accounting for more than 10% of Citigroup’s annual profits.
In 2012, Citigroup shuttered its retail operations in a few Latin American countries, including Honduras, Uruguay, Paraguay, but its consumer banking division has been reporting profits in most of the countries across the region.
In Costa Rica, Citigroup runs a large shared services center that is reportedly responsible for providing several back-office services, including tech support and finance & accounting for the bank’s operations across the region.