Asia’s Best Bank For Transaction Services

Rajesh Mehta

Rajesh Mehta,
Citi


Citi remains the name to beat in regional transaction services. Even as smaller, tech-nimble players such as DBS gain ground, and as established competitors like HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch fortify their own operations, Citi continues to grow from an already high base, achieving a 10% jump in year-on-year Asia Pacific TTS revenues to $2.17 billion in 2018, and a 15% climb in net income.

Citi has always been among the leading contenders, but it impressed in our review period for a willingness to disrupt. It launched a new ecosystem origination strategy, allowing it to connect the dots between its customers and their broader commercial periphery and to position itself accordingly. Rajesh Mehta’s impressive team has undertaken the task with its customary zest: truly, few people grin this much when talking about transaction services.

Naturally, the shift is primarily digital; a Citi survey suggested that two thirds of its clients now have an enterprise-wide digital strategy and it is incumbent on Citi to help them manage it.

There are numerous metrics to illustrate. In 2018 it held 36 client co-creation engagements in partnership with its innovation lab in Singapore, and is incubating 80 internal startups. The digital segment of the business (e-commerce firms and so forth) grew 15% year on year, and Citi now has over 60 fintech partnerships globally, with recent examples in India including cash collection and dispersal, and on digital bills of lading for cross-border trade. It is live with instant payments in eight Apac markets, and will be in all by 2020; it has over 50 program interfaces for institutional banking; and in liquidity management its intraday sweeping capabilities were introduced in 11 markets during our review period.

On the trade side, innovation continues in Citi’s efforts to help not only the client but its entire supply chain; it has, for example, a supplier financing platform that is extending from four to 12 markets in the region.