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Growth Strategies Case Study

Case Title:

CCitigroup: Strengthens its Presence in CEE

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: S Chaudhuri ,J Chakraborty

Industry: Banking, Insurance and Financial Services

Region: Global

Case Code: GRS0202IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available


On 11 December 2006, Citigroup inaugurated its first representative office in Serbia, one of the promising markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Although Citigroup was already present in several major countries in CEE, such as Hungary (1986), the Czech Republic (1991), Slovakia (1994), and Romania and Bulgaria (1995), it was yet to make a presence in Serbia. Citigroup's new office in Belgrade would market its corporate and investment banking products and services, to corporates, financial institutions and public sector entities. Citigroup's presence would set the tone for banking developments in Serbia, which would ultimately pave the way to a rising competitiveness (majored by mostly European based multinational banking groups) in the CEE region. Serbia offered an attractive business proposition and the global bank took its first step towards becoming the market leader in CEE. It simultaneously showed Citigroup's recognition of Serbia as an attractive and rapidly growing market in which to conduct business. It would remain a moot point whether Citigroup's business strategy (by not foraying into retail businesses) would turn out to be a fruitful business proposition in Serbia, a country that had been experiencing low penetration of banking services and millions of unbanked clients. It was to be seen whether Citigroup would be able to do justice to their position in terms of market share while competing with numerous retail banking giants in CEE. It would also remain a matter of concern how much the global banking giant would be able to benefit the Serbian economy, and would help its client's businesses to grow. A further point was whether the US-based Citigroup would be able to justify its decision of not entering into mass banking in Serbia.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the growth strategies of Citigroup.
  • To analyse the benefits and drawbacks of expansion strategies associated with banking companies.
  • To study the impact of Citigroup on the Serbian banking sector.
  • To understand the trends and developments in the CEE banking sector.
  • To understand the pros and cons of the Serbian banking sector reforms. This case is intended for MBA/PGDBM students and was designed to be part of the strategic management curriculum.

Keywords : CEE (Central and Eastern Europe); CE (Central Europe); SEE (South Eastern Europe); CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States); Serbia; Citigroup; CAR (capital adequacy ratio); ROA (return on assets); EU (European Union); Assets; Retail; Services; CAGR (compound annual growth rate); PE (price to earnings ratio); Banking assets

Contents : 
Company Profile – Citigroup Inc
Banking Industry in CEE
Citigroup’s Focus in CEE
The Road Ahead
A brief study of Top Global Banks
A Bird's Eye View of the Serbian Banking Sector
Market Shares of Several Banks in Serbia
Citigroup’s Presence in CEE

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