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Asia’s best bank for transaction services 2022: Citi

It was a knife-edge decision between Citi, stronger in top-end cash management, and HSBC, stronger in trade, this year. Last year, we decided trade was the theme to reward in a Covid-blighted year; this year we looked at progress in payments, where Citi had an excellent year.

TTS is one of the businesses that gains priority from CEO Jane Fraser’s bank strategy. It accounts for 21% of group revenues in 2021; Asia is 24% of the global TTS total. Within that, cash and payments is Citi’s strongest suit, particularly for large institutions.

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Rajesh Mehta

There was growth everywhere in our review period, but where trade revenue and assets in Asia Pacific grew 14% last year, payments and receivables climbed 20%, way ahead of the field. At the heart of that growth is Citi Global Instant Payments, a real-time payment platform that now links 29 markets plus the Single Europe Payments Area. In Asia Pacific, Citi doubled its processing of instant payments over the last 12 months.

Liquidity management is another area of strength, with the cash concentration platform handling an average throughput of $100 billion or more globally and supporting more than 6,000 concentration structures. Within Asia, Real-Time Liquidity Sharing was rolled out in Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan, with more to come in 2022. The system allows treasurers to automate and optimize funds across multiple entities and currencies.

Our clients are now looking ahead, with sustainability and growth at the core of their strategy, enabled through digital and data
Rajesh Mehta

On the trade side, use of the CitiDirect platform increased by 78% year on year in 2021. The various partnerships the bank has aligned with in trade – Komgo, Contour, TradeLens – are gathering momentum, and the sustainable supply-chain financing solution is in live operation worldwide, including in Asia. Citi’s sweet spot here is structured trade-financing solutions to help clients navigate complex challenges such as supply-chain disruptions. Almost half of Citi’s trade book is in structured – and sticky – assets.

“With the combined effects of Covid-19 and US-China trade friction resulting in enormous shifts in business models and supply chains, our clients are now looking ahead, with sustainability and growth at the core of their strategy, enabled through digital and data,” says Rajesh Mehta, regional head for Asia Pacific of Treasury and Trade Solutions.