Citigroup plans to hire as many as 100 bankers in a renewed push into Asia-Pacific commercial banking, following in rival HSBC's footsteps with a strategy that focuses on selling smaller corporate clients a wider range of products. Global banks like Citi and HSBC are now concentrating on small to medium-sized clients due to a dwindling number of $10 billion-plus IPOs from Chinese state-owned companies - deals which had sustained investment banks in the region over the last decade. The increase in headcount, which represents a 10 percent boost for Citi's Asia-Pacific commercial banking unit, is aimed at offering firms with annual sales of between $10 million and $500 million additional services such as foreign exchange and cash management. "This is not about adding hundreds of new clients in the region, but winning more wallet share from commercial banking clients who have cross-border business by providing them with more loans, FX, cash and trade products," Citi's Asia-Pacific commercial banking head Ashish Bajaj said in an interview.
Stocks ended nearly flat on Monday as the latest deal news offset losses following discouraging data on the housing market and some signs of weakness in the services sector. Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR.O) offered to buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N) for about $8.5 billion. The transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2 billion. Family Dollar's stock shot up 24.9 percent to $75.74 and was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer.
An influential consumer magazine on Monday called on Toyota Motor Corp to recall about 177,500 older Camry hybrid sedans to address potential power brake defects. Consumer Reports, which many consumers use when studying what vehicles to buy, said the Japanese automaker's decision to call for a service campaign or a warranty extension on two different problems covering cars from model years 2007 to 2011 does not go far enough. Under a service campaign, an automaker repairs cars as they are brought back to dealers by consumers. "Consumer Reports believes that Toyota should recall these cars," the magazine said.