Magazine article American Banker

Citigroup Said to Plan Opening 25 Branches in Poland

Magazine article American Banker

Citigroup Said to Plan Opening 25 Branches in Poland

Article excerpt

Citigroup Inc. is planning a sizable expansion of its five-branch network in Poland, according to banking sources in Warsaw.

Citi, the largest banking company in the United States, plans to open 25 branches in Poland during the next two years, these sources said.

A Citigroup spokesman in New York was unavailable to comment.

The sources said Citigroup's plan is a response to the Polish government's postponement, until June, of a decision on the sale of Warsawbased Bank Pekao.

Citigroup applied in March to bid for Pekao, one of Poland's largest banks. A consortium made up of Credito Italiano and the German insurance company Allianz also submitted an application to bid.

The government originally said it would open up bidding for Pekao at the end of March, but it has postponed the sale of the $15 billion-asset bank because of sensitivity surrounding the prospect of its purchase by foreigners.

Citigroup will seek to buy another Polish bank if its try for Pekao fails, said Stanislaw Berkieta, project director of Citibank Polska.

Poland's fast-growing banking market has attracted a host of U.S. and Western European institutions, which have taken large equity stakes in Polish banks in recent years.

"Poland's banking system has dramatically expanded and has become more efficient in recent years," the U.S. Treasury recently said.

According to the Treasury, Polish banking assets are now more than $70 billion and are growing at twice the rate of the Polish economy. …

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