Citicorp Opens a Unit in Warsaw

Citicorp said Tuesday that it has opened a commercial banking subsidiary in Warsaw.

The unit, Citibank (Poland), has $10 million in capital and 28 local employees. It is the second stake by a U.S. bank in the Polish commercial banking industry, following a minority investment last year by Bankers Trust New York Corp. in Poland's American Bank.

Units in Hungary

Citibank (Poland) will offer commercial banking services in Polish and foreign currencies, including letters of credit, preexport finance, and foreign exchange.

Citicorp and Bankers Trust also have commercial banking units in Hungary and have been in the vanguard among U.S. banks in Eastern Europe.

Both New York-based companies hope to profit from high lending margins in Eastern Europe and to use their international networks and technical expertise to develop new business.

Citicorp has been retrenching elsewhere overseas. A month ago, it sold its Italian commercial bank and is said to be considering other divestitures to raise its capital levels.

Too Late to Change

Analysts said they were surprised by the Polish move but added that Citicorp executives may have found it difficult not to go ahead after waiting over a year and a half for a license.

"From a political point of view, they would have found it difficult to back out in mid-stream," said Ralph Soifer, an analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York.

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