Citigroup Moving into Iraq

Bank hopes to tap into the nation's $1 trillion in post-war infrastructure spending.

Citigroup Inc., the U.S. lender 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, Citigroup received approval this week to open a representative office in Baghdad and will consider more such offices and branches in the country, Mayank Malik, chief executive officer for Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian territories, said in a phone interview.

StanChart Entry

Foreign banks were barred from the country until after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein. Today, 15 international banks operate there, competing with seven state banks, 23 private lenders, and nine banks operating under Islamic rules, according to the central bank’s website.

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