News Column

Citigroup Opens First U.S. Bank Branch in Iraq

June 24, 2013

Citigroup will be the first US bank to open in Iraq after it announced Monday it had received preliminary approval by the Central Bank of Iraq to establish an office there, according to media reports.

The branch office is to open in Baghdad.

Citigroup, the third-largest US lender, has been serving its Iraqi clients through its office in Amman, Jordan. It will join 15 other international banks physically operating in Iraq, according to the Central Bank of Iraq's website.

"Iraq is an important market, with an economy that has substantial potential over time," James Cowles, Citigroup's chief executive officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, was quoted as sayinb by Bloomberg news agency.

"Having a presence in Iraq will position us to better attune our services to the banking needs of our clients as they grow and develop their businesses in the country."

Foreign banks were banned in Iraq until after the regime of Saddam Hussein was driven out by the US-led war there.

Citigroup said branch openings are also planned for Erbil and Basra, two of the largest cities in Iraq.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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