Citigroup Opens in Iraq as CEO Scales Back Some Markets

Citigroup Inc., the U.S. lender that is scaling back in some emerging markets, said it’s seeking to benefit from an estimated $1 trillion of infrastructure spending in Iraq as the country rebuilds roads and bridges after the war.

The third-largest U.S. lender by assets this week received approval to open a representative office in Baghdad and will also consider more such offices and branches in the country, said Mayank Malik, Chief Executive Officer for Jordan, Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories.

Iraq is the bank’s first country opening for six years and comes as Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat seeks to sell or scale back consumer operations in nations such as Turkey, Pakistan and Uruguay, reversing an expansion strategy into faster-growing economies by the former CEO.

“Iraq is a giant that’s waking up and the opportunities are immense,” Malik said from Amman, Jordan. “The most significant opportunities are twofold - oil revenue generation and infrastructure creation. We estimate this to be $1 trillion initiative over time.”

For the original June 26, 2013 piece from Bloomberg referenced in this summary, click here.