Magazine article American Banker

Citi's Jane Fraser: The No. 1 Woman to Watch for 2015

Magazine article American Banker

Citi's Jane Fraser: The No. 1 Woman to Watch for 2015

Article excerpt

Corruption, a slow-growing economy, her own rusty Spanish -- those are just some of the obstacles Citigroup's Jane Fraser faces as she takes on perhaps the biggest challenge of her banking career.

Fraser, the former chief executive of Citi's consumer and commercial banking operations, took over as CEO of Latin America in June. She is responsible for all of the company's operations in the region, including Mexico, where Citi has owned and operated Banco Nacional de Mexico, or Banamex, since 2001.

Among her top priorities will be instilling a more U.S.-like culture at Banamex, which is the target of a money-laundering investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. While no wrongdoing has been found, Fraser acknowledges that corruption in Mexico's financial system is an issue.

"Part of it is about choosing your clients and knowing who you are and who you do business with and who you don't," she says. "You do have to worry about money laundering and fraud and all those things, but as a U.S. bank, one of the things we have to do is set the tone for responsible finance."

Fraser notes that while long-term prospects for growth in the Latin American market are good, the near-term situation is daunting. "Four percent growth is the new 10%," she says. "All the countries in Latin America are facing the reality of a strengthening U.S. dollar, weak exports and lower commodity prices. But aside from Brazil and Venezuela, we're still seeing positive growth. …

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