Citibank (T&T) Ltd has played a key role in the development of this country’s energy sector to the point where it has been tagged, “the energy bank,” said managing director Dennis Evans. “Our record speaks for itself. Over the years, we have provided products which have suited the special needs of T&T. From the 1980s to 2009, Citi raised in excess of $25 billion for the public and private sectors of T&T,” Evans said. Evans was speaking at the June 20 function to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the global bank at its Queen’s Park East, Port-of-Spain, head offices, Evans said the bank made the right decision to set up operations in Trinidad in 1965.
Among the reasons Evans identified for that decision made 47 years ago were:
• Standard and Poor’s has given T&T a strong ‘A’ investment grade, while Moody’s has given it a Baa1 grade.
“Both agencies have a stable outlook on the economy,” Evans said.
• T&T has a world-class energy sector, which accounts for 45 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)
• The CL Financial intervention: Government has made progress in addressing the payout to policyholders of Clico
• Debt to GDP: total internal public sector, including liabilities, is 43 per cent of GDP, while the external debt/GDP is significantly lower t 9.3 per cent of GDP
• Financial system: “We have a robust banking system with low levels of non-performing loans, both by regional and international standards,” Evans said.
• Foreign currency reserves: The latest data shows US$9.8 billion of gross official reserves equivalent to 13.4 months of import cover. The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund now holds in excess of US$4 billion.
• Unemployment and inflation: The unemployment rate remains moderate at 5.2 per cent in Q3 2011. Inflation, however continues to be a challenge with headline inflation at 9.1 per cent in March 2012, and food inflation at 20.3 per cent.
Suresh Maharaj, cluster head and chief executive officer for the Caribbean and Central America and chairman, said the institution started as a trade finance bank connecting New York and Liverpool to financing such transformational projects as the Panama Canal, the Transatlantic Cable and the Jumbo Jet. Citi does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. “In this Caribbean and Central American region, we provide all Citi businesses, including corporate and investment banking, consumer, retail—credit cards and mortgages in Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and T&T over a network of 157 branches, 348 automatic telling machines, and a team of over 12,000 employees serving 1.1 million customers,” Maharaj said. He said Citi has in this region a portfolio of more than US$12 billion, representing a significant contributor to its growing emerging market revenues and strategies.
As part of the 200th anniversary celebrations, the bank teamed up with the University of the West Indies to create a mural of ten interlocking panel of ideas: reflection, synergy, vision, legacy, innovation, cornerstone, empowerment, consolidation, growth, trust, precognition and progressive leadership. There are two individual panels that set out ideas related to the central mural. The ten artists from the UWI’s Department of Creative and Festival Arts are: Camille Bartholomew, Ramattie Chaitoo, Myer Fisher, Tovya Headley, Makesi Lamont, Denique Ruiz, Shannon Amanda Veronica Yip Ying, Noel Nottingham and Kevin Vincent.