“La Caixa” and Citigroup announce strategic collaboration agreement
Barcelona/ London, 12 May 2005 - La Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” and Citigroup® Global Transaction Services today announced they have entered into a strategic collaboration agreement.
This agreement will span a number of strategic opportunities to support “la Caixa”'s customers who operate in any of the countries (more than 100) where Citigroup, first financial institution in the world, has presence, especially in Asia and Latin America. Conversely, Citigroup are exploring opportunities to use “la Caixa's” local presence to support the Spanish cash banking needs of Citigroup's international clients, thus strengthening Citigroup's ability to offer domestic cash management capabilities. “La Caixa” is the first Savings bank in Europe and the third financial institution in Spain.
“La Caixa” holds the most important industrial shares portfolio of the Spanish financial system in the following sectors: construction, energy and communications, amongst them: Abertis, Gas Natural, Aguas de Barcelona, Repsol and Telefónica. The new agreement with Citigroup will contribute to these company's international financial transation capabilities.
Commenting on this agreement with “la Caixa”, Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Global Transaction Services in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), said, “We are delighted to be working with “la Caixa”. Citigroup's 'Borderless banking' is a new business model for banks. Our strategy is to help financial institutions broaden their product capabilities and service clients in new markets with minimal investment in fixed cost infrastructures. “La Caixa' would gain from the ability to extend their market reach, offer new products and services to their clients, and achieve operating cost efficiencies within a much shorter time horizon. Moreover, we are willing to leverage “la Caixa”'s strong domestic capabilities in Spain as a way of delivering a superior service to our international customer base.”
Julio Lage, Executive Director of “la Caixa”, stressed “the advantages that this new agreement will offer our customers, as we will have the support form the first financial institution in the world. “La Caixa,” with 9,2 million customers, has the largest number of branches in Spain (over 4,800) as well as the largest number of ATMs (7,000). It is also the leader in Online banking, for private clients as well as for companies. Its multi-channel offer ranges from Internet (Linea Abierta) to mobile phone, digital TV, etc.”
“La Caixa,” Julio Lage ads, “has always been known for its constant investment in technology with the objective of offering better products and services to their customers.” This financial institution offers services which are adapted to the needs of the new residents in Spain, thanks to agreements made with banks in the countries of origin of these individuals and companies.”
Citigroup (NYSE: C), the preeminent global financial services company has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Travellers Life and Annuity. Additional information may be found at: www.citigroup.com.
About Citigroup Global Transaction Services
With over US$121 billion in average liability balances, more than US$ 7.9 trillion in assets under custody and the largest proprietary branch network, Citigroup’s award-winning operating systems and Internet-based delivery channels enable clients to manage and monitor working capital and investments more efficiently, streamline transaction processing cycles, and re-engineer receivables and payment processes. Citigroup Global Transaction Services provides clients with access to Citigroup’s full range of capabilities and solutions along with an on-the-ground presence and in-depth knowledge of more than 100 local markets. For additional information, see www.transactionservices.citigroup.com.
About “la Caixa”
Grupo “La Caixa”, with 24,827 employees, obtained a profit of 1.020 million Euros in 2004, with strong growth in all margins. The business volume (for banking activities) for the Group amounts to 237.154 million Euros. Total funds held for customers reached 143.912 million Euros. During 2004, “la Caixa”'s customer base increased to 9.2 million. “La Caixa” is the leader card issuing financial institution in Spain, with a market share of 17.5% and 7.8 million active cards to date.