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Quantifying COVID Impact on Banking in 2021 – Citigroup CEO

Quantifying COVID Impact on Banking in 2021 – Citigroup CEO

(31 December 2020 – Global) As Banks have been hit hard by low interest rates and the COVID-19 pandemic recession, incoming Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser discusses the key challenges and opportunities for 2021, starting wit the coronavirus.

Citigroup has invested more than $1 billion in modernizing and digitizing its infrastructure, in part to improve its internal controls and risk management, but also to better serve clients and remain competitive. The investments began even before Citigroup got slapped with a $400 million fine by the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in October for failure to establish effective risk management practices.

“It is an interesting time because I think COVID has changed quite a few things. It has certainly accelerated digitization. It's changed the structures of our clients' industries. It's changing our own industry faster than we thought would happen. So, you're trying to bring a fresh perspective to what the firm will be focused on in terms of strategy, but also thinking about our people, thinking about the macro environment, those other dimensions” Fraser stated.

“Banks are going to play a very important role in helping to drive the recovery. We do anticipate it to be quite sluggish. We're certainly seeing it in consumer [banking]: You've got the "haves" and you've got those who are really struggling. I think it goes to that sense of, what are the values of the industry? How do we make sure we're part of the solution? Not just from the financial market perspective. I think we all learned many lessons out of the last crisis about what a bank really is and [the role it] needs to play. So, it's digital. It's about humanity. There's obviously the ESG agenda, but in a real way, not a plaque on the wall or just nice statements” Fraser added.

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