In an age when loans are becoming commodity products that are often mis-priced for relationship reasons, Citibank/SSB has taken a value-added approach to the product for both itself and its clients.
The firm displays a commanding presence in the sheer number of transactions it arranges and participates in. This diversity is seen in the number of countries it does deals in, the number of sectors it lends to, and the different types of borrowers it deals with. The firm appears equally at ease being the sole lead underwriter on smaller deals as well as organizing and participating in jumbo club deals. It also takes a very creative approach to the loan business seeking structured deals with more upside for itself and its clients, rather than just loading its books with plain vanilla paper.
Furthermore, the bank views loans as an essential part of its overall product mix ? a strategy that is clearly enjoyed by its clients. The firm has led over 70 deals in the first three quarters of 2000, lending nearly $20 billion to companies throughout the region in both local currencies and in G3 currencies. This strength of balance sheet and willingness to put it to work shows the firm has a long-term commitment to the loan product. This marks it out as a stable, long-term participant, rather than a short-term, opportunistic lender that makes one or two headline loans, but overall is rather uncommitted.
Out of the 70 plus deals the bank has closed this year, one or two landmark deals stand out. In Singapore, the bank underwrote and arranged the largest syndicated loan ever done in the city-state when it organized the $820 million equivalent deal for Chartered silicon Partners. Huge, and with a complex structure, the deal nevertheless attracted strong commitments in the general syndication. In Hong Kong, the firm has been at the forefront of the renaissance in jumbo real estate financings, showing the bank?s commitment to the resurgent Hong Kong property market. It has done power deals in Thailand, telecom deals in the Philippines, bank deals in Korea and technology deals in Taiwan. It has lent to 15 countries and counts some of the biggest corporate names in Asia as its clients. Citibank/SSB is the lender of choice for most of corporate Asia.