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October 15, 2009

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Home » Business » Finance

Citi taps loan demand in rural areas

CITI China opened its third lending company in China yesterday to cater for the rising need for credit in rural areas.

Dalian Wafangdian Citi Lending Co Ltd in the northeastern Liaoning Province has a registered capital of 17 million yuan (US$2.5 million).

"China remains one of Citi's highest priority markets around the world," said Stephen Bird, chief executive officer of Citi Asia Pacific, in Wafangdian yesterday. "We will continue to expand our presence here across multiple lines of business."

The establishment of the lending company reflects Citi's intent to go deeper into smaller towns and counties in China, he added.

Citi was the first international bank to launch the lending company model in China. Citi also has two lending companies in the towns of Gong'an and Chibi in Hubei Province.

The new company will have 10 bankers and will offer both secured and unsecured loans to underserved segments of the rural population - individuals, the self-employed and micro-enterprises.

Wafangdian, covering an area of 3,794 square kilometers, has rich agricultural and mining resources, and a sizable fishing industry.

Andrew Au, CEO of Citi China, said he sees significant credit demand driven by local economic growth in Wafangdian and the bank intends to build a commercially sustainable business.

Citi, a major global bank in China, has corporate and consumer banking networks in China, including in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Overseas banks are following the central government's call to penetrate more deeply in the rural areas. Citi's two rivals, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, have already set up rural banks in China.


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