Global Head, Citi Private Bank
March 16, 2020Posted InCiti
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With COVID-19 now having been declared a global pandemic, I’m reaching out to offer you some important reassurances.
All of us at the Private Bank understand the enormous challenge that this outbreak represents to you and your family, your business, and your community. The suspension of many aspects of everyday existence is intensely trying for us all. This extends far beyond investment portfolio volatility. Our family lives, work, social activities, communications, and movement are now subject to unfamiliar and mounting disruption.
I want you to know that the Private Bank stands firmly with you throughout all of this. Despite the considerable uncertainty and disruption, the world will surely return to normal. Throughout history, humanity has periodically faced unforeseen and often extreme challenges. Even in the most testing of these, however, we have always managed to come through. Indeed, we have typically emerged stronger than before.
In the meantime, we will do everything in our power to assist you and your family. As part of this, we want to give you timely, expert insights into the outbreak and its many possible implications.
Naturally, we will also keep you updated as to the investment ramifications of COVID-19. David Bailin and Steven Wieting are already providing frequent, close-up analysis of economic and market developments, highlighting the lessons of history and reviewing potential scenarios. I strongly encourage you to check out the 20 Questions and Answers edition of their Global Strategy Bulletin, which sets out their thinking clearly and incisively. I also recommend David’s recent conversation with Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, which you can also hear on Apple Podcast and Soundcloud.
Above all, we want to keep talking with you and to address your needs. When the COVID-19 outbreak first erupted in China some weeks ago, we found that clients across Asia appreciated speaking to us even more often. Of course, we may not be able to meet you in person for the moment, owing to travel and other restrictions. However, I have asked all of my teams around the world to maintain frequent contact with you, either by phone, video conference or whichever means of remote communication you prefer. We are here for you even more than ever.
The Private Bank and the whole of Citi are committed to providing the highest level of uninterrupted service to you. To this end, we have extensive business continuity preparations in place. Many of our staff are now working from home or in backup locations to help keep them healthy and ready to serve you. Meanwhile, Citi is seeking to alleviate some of COVID-19’s impacts upon customers and communities worldwide. This includes assistance for holders of retail and small business bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages. Our organization remains strong. Citi is at your disposal, whether to help you safeguard liquidity or for extending credit where needed.
Your health – and that of our employees and communities worldwide – are of paramount concern to us. With this in mind, my colleagues and I have decided to postpone many of the events that we had lined up for you until it is safe for them to proceed once more. This is especially true for the larger gatherings involving clients traveling from multiple regions of the world. While we know that there is nothing quite like face-to-face encounters, we are endeavoring to deliver events in virtual format wherever possible.
The period ahead will continue to test us all in many ways. However, we are very well prepared to meet the inevitable challenges and to help you do the same. I very much look forward to getting back on the road again and visiting you in your part of the world. If I can be of any assistance whatsoever meanwhile, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. For now, I want to leave you with the inspirational words of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization:
Let hope be the antidote to fear.
Let solidarity be the antidote to blame.
Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat.
Thank you for the ongoing trust and confidence you show in the Private Bank and in Citi.