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Get a life

Citicafe is no ordinary bank cafeteria. "The old place was so drab," says Sunil Sreenivasan, chief executive of Citibank Malaysia. "I told the architect I wanted something equal to or better than where the kids go."

The result is a spacious two-level bar and restaurant on the top floor of the Medan Pasar HQ, with two enormous video screens showing MTV. In the evenings, movies are shown. Popcorn is free, as is the pool table. When staff feel like singing, there's a karaoke machine too. "We think it's unique within Citibank and in the banking world," he says, adding that it is open till 10pm.

The Citicafe was built by Sreenivasan as part of a "get a life" programme that he says was much needed in Malaysia. "We are repositioning ourselves," he says. "In Malaysia, Citibankers had a poor image. Citibankers were considered to be money-driven workaholics with no sense of humour. Citicafe is part of our drive to make Citibank seem a kinder, gentler place."

Staff turnover used to reflect Citi's image problem. It stood at 28% in 1994. "We were deeply ashamed of this number," he says, noting it was the highest in Malaysia.

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