No word from Citibank Sweden on rescue plan’s effects

No word from Citibank Sweden on rescue plan's effects
Officials from Citigroup’s subsidiary in Sweden are staying tight lipped about how a US government stabilization plan announced on Monday might affect the US bank’s Swedish operations.

“I can’t comment,” said Clas Rönnlöv, head of Citibank Sweden, to the TT news agency.

On Monday, federal regulators in the US approved a complex rescue plan to help Citigroup cope with massive loan losses through a $20 billion capital injection as well as loan guarantees of more than $300 billion.

Citigroup’s activities in Sweden encompass three different business lines, including a private banking operation which provides loans and credit cards for nearly 300,000 customers in the country.

“On the consumer side we have two products, unsecured loans and credit cards. So we have no deposits, rather we lend out money,” said Citibank Sweden’s spokesperson Hampus Stenberg.

When asked to elaborate on how the perilous situation for Citibank’s parent company might affect the bank’s activities in Sweden, Stenberg made reference to a statement from Citigroup in the US.

“That which is to be communicated is included in the press release,” he said.

“What I can say is that this is about confidence and that through these measures, which remove the insecurity in the markets which has been reflected in the stock price recently.”

Stenberg refused to comment on whether Citibank Sweden was in talks with Swedish authorities.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with external interests, but I’m not going to go into which ones or what has been said,” he said.

Nor did he offer any comforting words for concerned clients of the bank.

“That’s something we keep between us and our customers,” said Stenberg.

On Monday morning, there was no information on the Citibank Sweden website about the rescue package or last week’s announcement that the company was cutting 50,000 jobs.

“Citbank’s strong position in the world is a guarantee for you as a customer,” states the website.