Citibank, the flagship unit of New York's Citicorp, has received preliminary approval from Vietnam to open a branch in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

This would be the first time since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 that a full branch license had been granted to a U.S. banking company to operate in Ho Chi Minh City.

"We are delighted with the news," said Citibank's Vietnam manager, Brad Lalonde. "Ho Chi Minh City is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and the leading commercial center in the country." Citibank established representative offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 1993 and 1994 and opened its first Vietnam branch in Hanoi a year later.

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