Executive Insights: Citi Global Head Of Corporate Banking Jason Rekate Q&A

Jason Rekate, global head of corporate banking, talks about how Citi is helping clients navigate the pandemic, and how it is uniquely positioned to enable them to strengthen supply chains and take advantage of the coming recovery.

Global Finance: What makes Citi the Best Corporate Bank?

Jason Rekate: Within Citi’s Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory division, the Corporate Bank, including both head office and subsidiary coverage, has the largest and deepest global presence of any bank, with a physical presence in nearly 100 countries and territories and the ability to serve nearly 60 additional countries from nearby “presence countries/hubs.” We provide our multinational clients with differentiated service, both where they operate today and when they grow tomorrow—globally, regionally and locally.

We offer a robust platform that includes specialized country desks to meet the needs of clients headquartered around the world while also ensuring that we provide a globally consistent platform that ensures the quality of coverage, an ability to allocate capital globally and efficiently and an unmatched set of products and solutions. We are a preferred banking partner for 95% of the world’s Fortune 100 companies, and have built long-established, institutional relationships covering major corporations, financial institutions, public-sector entities and local market infrastructures.

Our customers get the best advice and content they need based on our unmatched market knowledge, combined with deeply embedded business connections across sectors and geographies. We serve our clients through connections to over 300 clearing systems from our globally integrated platforms and capabilities. We offer robust technical execution, making it possible to deliver operational consistency across multiple countries. Lastly, Citi offers clients tailored solutions from our leading global product capabilities as a premier banking, capital markets and advisory bank.

GF: What has been the biggest impact on the business from Covid-19?

Rekate: As most of the world went into a combination of lockdown and remote work in mid-March, some of the regional offices of Citi’s Corporate Bank, including the nearly 150-person team in China, had already demonstrated the bank’s operational resiliency and ability to operate remotely starting as early as January. As the global economic situation worsened, the Corporate Bank took the responsibility for working with clients to ensure they had the resources, information and liquidity to endure an extended period of disruption.

With an unmatched view of global industries in all regions, Citi was able to provide critical new credit facilities to clients around the world and also ensure that their core services, including critical cash management and markets operations, continued to function despite teams working from home. At the height of the disruption, the global team set up a daily transaction review forum to ensure the bank’s ability to respond as efficiently as possible to client requests. Working collaboratively with product partners across the bank enabled Citi to help clients across capital markets, strengthen supplier finance arrangements and think through potential economic scenarios for their own forward planning. Citi made use of digital technology, some of which was developed in real time, to enable clients to execute documents, open new accounts and manage cash completely remotely.

During this period, Citi syndicated approximately 350 loans with volume in excess of $550 billion, while being the number two bond underwriter, supporting our clients with $1.4 trillion in bond proceeds. Our capital strength has enabled Citi to fund our clients’ revolver draws while capturing significant share in customer deposits. Recently we partnered with clients to expedite payments and foreign exchange rates to enable them to provide better B2C experiences for their end customers, as we continue to focus on supporting our clients with solutions to resolve challenges.

GF: What is the outlook for corporate banking in 2021?

Rekate: 2021 will be one of the most important years for our clients in recent memory as they recover from the Covid-19 disruptions. Citi’s plan is to take full advantage of our strong local presences to ensure maximum client connectivity even before the world gets back to more normalized patterns of travel. The bank will continue to make new investments in digital offerings to provide clients with best-in-class solutions for balance sheet and liquidity management and will look to assist multinational companies to strengthen—and where needed, rebuild—their supply chains with working capital solutions. Liquidity will continue to be critical, given continued uncertainty, and our corporate bankers will be armed with the ability to help clients access both capital markets and loan and trade credit facilities.