• Small business boot camp.

    By Citi September 17, 2010 05:02 PM

    ACCION USA, a microfinance organization, and Citibank are together hosting a Small Business Boot Camp in South Florida, an area particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. The forum will provide emerging and established small business owners with free advice on tax filing, accounting, legal matters, pricing, branding, marketing and credit management.

    During the three-hour boot camp, participants will have the opportunity to meet with local experts, both one-on-one and in small groups, for 20-minute sessions. Between sessions, attendees can participate in small business roundtables and network with successful entrepreneurs, community leaders, and one another.

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  • Op-ed: Taking a stake in schools.

    By Citi September 17, 2010 04:41 PM

    Sheldon Caplis, the Regional Director of North America Community Development for Citi Community Development, contributed an op-ed to the Washington Business Journal highlighting the role businesses can play in improving local schools. In his piece, "Businesses must step up role in closing achievement gap," Caplis called for corporate financial support of programs with proven track records, naming a range of notable organizations focused on principal development and college access in the District of Columbia area. He also urged companies to encourage staff to volunteer as mentors, career advisors and board members of such community organizations. "A college degree is among the single-most important tools for providing young people and our country with a measure of economic resilience," Caplis wrote in his piece.

    For his part, Caplis serves on the National Capital Region board of College Summit, which helps young people steer a path to college. He is also on the board of Capital Partners for Education, a high school mentoring program.

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  • 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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