• Passion and realism sustain American small business owners.

    By Raj Seshadri, Head of Small Business Banking September 03, 2010 12:17 PM

    As the economy continues to get back on its feet, America's small business owners have dealt with a series of setbacks, including reduced demand and uncertain business conditions. At the same time, a new Citi-sponsored survey shows that U.S. entrepreneurs are as passionate as ever about their businesses, despite concerns of continued economic difficulties.

    The survey found that though the vast majority of small business owners (86 percent) are concerned that the economy may experience a double-dip recession, 81 percent of them say they like or love running their own business, and 75 percent say they would start their business again even if they knew then what they know now about the challenges they would face. And, 59 percent said they would recommend entrepreneurship as a career to their children.

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  • Community building.

    By Emily Millen, VP, Human Resources, North America Consumer Banking September 03, 2010 10:57 AM

    Some of my colleagues and I recently had the chance to participate in a special Habitat for Humanity build in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. As it was part of Citi's ongoing association with the Mets in their "Teammates in the Community" effort, we worked alongside Mets alumni to help low-income families in need of better housing.

    Sue Andros, who is Co-Chair of the Citi Women's Network, 12 other Citi volunteers and I were put to work helping complete the conversion of four row houses into energy-efficient, affordable condominiums for 16 first-time homebuyers. With us were two of the future purchasers, who like all Habitat clients, are putting in some 300 to 600 hours of their own time on the build. When in place in their new homes, they won't be paying more than 33 percent of their household income on housing. They are also expected to realize savings, and even health benefits, from living in a space built with "green" materials, appliances and construction techniques.

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  • Assessing emerging market trends.

    By Citi August 27, 2010 11:43 AM

    In a guest post on the FT's beyondbrics blog, Citi strategist Michael Geraghty discusses emerging market consumerism and the opportunities it creates for both local companies and multinationals.

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  • Citi's innovation team featured.

    By Citi August 25, 2010 11:59 AM

    In the piece "Innovate, Yes, but Make It Practical," The New York Times' "Unboxed" column took a look at how several companies, including Citi, incubate and foster new product and service ideas. Chief Administrative Officer Don Callahan, Chief Innovation Officer Deborah Hopkins, Citibank Japan President Darren Buckley and Managing Director Chris Kay discussed the thinking that has led to new ventures such as Bundle.com and next-generation retail branches in Japan.

    Hopkins described her role as head of the Growth Ventures & Innovation Group as "being a catalyst, to challenge people to think differently, but also pursue new ideas with a lot of rigor."

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  • Citi Card customers "InControl."

    By Citi August 24, 2010 04:42 PM

    Citi and MasterCard Worldwide announced that Citi will implement the first-ever consumer application in the U.S. of MasterCard inControl - an innovative service that gives cardholders the ability to set spending controls and receive real-time information about their accounts.

    A recent New York Times "Your Money" column, "Your Card Has Been Declined, Just As You Wanted," described these features as having "the potential to prevent a variety of budget sins and other money traps."

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  • Neighborhood revitalization: Columbia Heights.

    By Citi August 23, 2010 03:17 PM

    The District of Columbia's long-scarred Columbia Heights is now a lively streetscape described as "a great, green place" by urban planners. The revitalization, which Citi helped finance, got its start more than ten years ago with the planned introduction of a new Metro station. It grew to include 1.2 million square feet of new development, including stores, 600 affordable housing units and completely refurbished cultural and public spaces.

    Citi Community Capital arranged $149.5 million in financing for the core of the area's development, DC USA, a large shopping center whose construction created approximately 700 jobs. The shopping center's tenants, including national retailers and unique local businesses, are expected to generate an additional 1,200 permanent jobs. In a video feature produced by The National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.'s Office on Planning's Harriet Tregoning described the development as "one of the greenest shopping centers in the country" in part because it has brought "Big Box," suburban stores normally accessed by car to a dense, urban area well-served by mass transit.

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  • Citi's perspective on revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act.

    By Citi August 23, 2010 10:39 AM

    In recent testimony at a federal inter-agency hearing on potential revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Microfinance, highlighted the role of savings accounts and other asset-building opportunities in helping low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals build a better future.

    Many LMI families in America are "unbanked," meaning they have neither a checking nor savings account. Citing policy research as well as the experience of Citi community partners, Annibale testified that helping families save more can dramatically increase opportunities for major goals such as higher education and entrepreneurship, and can help stabilize cash flow in emergencies. He also noted that managing a bank account can help people become better consumers of other financial products such as mortgages.

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  • An update on Citi's work in Haiti.

    By Citi August 20, 2010 10:12 AM

    Citi recently announced a second tranche of funding toward a $2 million commitment to relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. This latest initiative is aimed at job creation, which is essential if Haiti is to continue its recovery from the catastrophic earthquake in January. Together with the Soros Economic Development Fund, Citi is putting resources toward creating new opportunities in one of Haiti's most promising sectors - the apparel industry.

    Specifically, a $250,000 Citi grant will help the CODEVI apparel company create 1,400 new jobs and provide training to its employees over the next 12 months. Importantly, it will do so in an area, Ouanaminthe, that has been a refuge for Haitians migrating out of Port-au-Prince.

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  • Teammates in the community.

    By Andy Ditton, President, Citi Community Capital August 18, 2010 03:34 PM

    Despite all that I've seen through the years, I recently had my first encounter with 25,000 pounds of apples. That sounds like a lot of apples and, take it from someone who probably handled thousands of them himself, it is. I was one of around 30 Citi volunteers who gathered in the Citi Field parking lot for a "Teammates in the Community" event (along with some great Mets alumni including Rusty Staub and Cleon Jones) to repack the apples -- donated in tremendous cardboard bins by a Pennsylvania farmer -- into small bags that could be redistributed by City Harvest to hungry people in New York.

    Twenty-five thousand pounds of apples is an eye-opener. So is this: More than one million New York City residents rely on emergency food at some point during the year, including nearly 350,000 children and more than 140,000 elderly people, according to City Harvest estimates.

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  • Citi Perspectives launches with report on hedge funds and liquidity.

    By Citi August 13, 2010 04:18 PM

    Citi's Prime Finance group recently launched Citi Perspectives, a new series of industry reports highlighting the group's intellectual capabilities and service to its hedge fund clients. The debut report, "The Liquidity Crisis & Its Impact on the Hedge Fund Industry," is a result of in-depth, one-on-one interviews, and represents an array of industry opinions including hedge funds, investors, intermediaries and service providers.

    The report comprises three key parts, with the first two sections focusing on process and structural issues that emerged in the hedge fund industry during the liquidity crisis, and responses to those issues that occurred over the following 18 months. The final part of the survey extrapolates implications from recent changes and explores how the hedge fund industry is likely to evolve in the near future.

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