Citigroup starts team in Japan targeting growth at midsize firms

Citigroup is seeking to strengthen its business with midsize companies in Japan as the Wall Street bank accelerates efforts across the globe to broaden its customer base.

The U.S. firm has created a team in Tokyo to offer them tailored products in areas ranging from global cash management to financing, under the brand of Citi Commercial Bank, according to a statement Monday. Yutaka Naito will lead the group targeting firms with cross-border business needs.

Citigroup set out two years ago to hire hundreds of workers worldwide to boost the commercial brand, betting that midsize firms need similar tools from international banks as large corporate clients. The lender began the service in recent years in countries from France to Germany and Canada as well as in some other Asia locations.

Japan has around 9,000 midsize companies, according to the country’s trade ministry, which counts firms that employ up to 2,000 workers while meeting some other conditions. The government is stepping up efforts to help those entities grow by offering capital investment subsidies and support for foreign expansion.

The latest move “reaffirms our commitment to serving the Japanese market,” Gunjan Kalra, head of Japan, North Asia and Australia, and South Asia for Citi Commercial Bank, said in the statement. Japan is “home to many new and innovative companies, with global linkages and cross-border business needs,” she said.


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