Postcard from Canada
By John Hastings, Citi Country Officer, Canada April 07, 2016 09:00 AM
Around the world, Citi Country Officers (CCOs) work to balance the execution of their country business strategy with their responsibilities ensuring the safety and soundness of the Citigroup franchise. Through this blog series, we are pleased to share perspectives from CCOs around the world, as well an insider’s look at the countries and cities where Citi operates.
Tell Us About Canada
Official languages: English and French
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Population: 36,048,521 (2016 est.)
Weather: Canada has four distinct seasons, with Toronto temperatures reaching average highs of 26°C in the summer and lows of -6°C in the winter.
Best Tourist/Historical Sites: Ontario’s lakes, the Rocky Mountains and Canada’s Maritime Coast
What I Love About Living In Canada:
- The diversity of our people.
- Our close relationship with the U.S.
- And of course – hockey.
How many years has Citi been in your country?
Citi can trace its Canadian history back to 1919 when The National City Company Ltd., first opened offices here in Toronto and Montreal. After leaving for a period of time in the 1930’s, Citi returned to Canada in the 1950’s when First National City Bank purchased the Mercantile Bank of Canada and the International Trust Company to re-establish a presence in the Canadian market. Since then Citi has continued to grow and evolve. We are now primarily an institutional business, and a top-ten banking franchise for Citi based on revenue.
What business units operate in your country?
Citi Canada has more than 2,700 employees in 220 locations across the country working in seven lines of business: Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi Markets, Citi Private Bank, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Securities and Fund Services, Citi Cards Canada and CitiFinancial.
What are the opportunities and challenges of doing business in your country?
Citi’s globality is perfectly suited for this market. The Toronto Stock Exchange is a premier exchange globally, owing to the efforts of its leadership to position it strongly among global firms, particularly in metals and mining. Most of these organizations are headquartered in Toronto but have operations in far-flung locations. This plays perfectly to our strengths. Canada also has a strong regulatory framework and a great quality of life for employees.
Where were you born?
I was born in Hamilton, Ontario. My father was a banker and my childhood was spent in various U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Dallas and New York. I moved back to Canada for university and I’ve been here ever since.
What did you study that helped you prepare for a career in banking?
I have a B.A. in Economics from Queen’s University and an M.B.A. from the University of Toronto.
What other roles and countries have you worked in at Citi?
I started my career as an associate in banking, eventually moving into our tax leasing product group. From there I went to our Capital Markets Origination team and ultimately to a role as Head of Loan Products, before moving back into banking. I assumed my current position as CCO in 2010.
How do you see the role of CCO fitting into the Citi ecosystem?
I see my role as having three key components. 1. Business development with clients 2. Managing people and 3. Management of regulatory relationships, which has become increasingly important as our industry becomes more global.
Role and Responsibilities
How do you maintain work-life balance? What are some activities you do in your free time?
Spending time with my family is important to me. I am an avid golfer and it’s now something I can enjoy with my kids and my wife. Being a typical Canadian I am also a hockey fan and enjoy both playing and watching the game in the winter. We also enjoy spending time at our family cottage in the summer.