Joining other major bank CEOs warning about global economic health, Fraser said that conversations during her world tour with stops in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East focused predominantly on “the three Rs”.
"It's rates, it's Russia and it's recession," Fraser said at an investor conference in New York, warning that, in Europe, "the energy side was really having an impact on a number of companies in certain industries that are not even competitive right now."
"Because of the cost of electricity and the cost of energy, some of them are shutting down operations. So Europe definitely felt more likely to be heading into a recession than you see in the US," Fraser added.
The Citigroup CEO said that, in the US, interest rates are a greater concern than a recession.
"It's certainly not our base case that it will be, but it's not easy to avoid either.”
The US bank’s latest move makes it the first major Wall Street institution to follow through with a strict Covid-19 vaccine mandate, having announced intentions to do so back in October.
Citigroup’s decision comes as the financial industry struggles with how to return employees to offices safely amid rapidly rising cases of the Omicron variant of the virus. Other major Wall Street banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs & Co, have told unvaccinated staff to work remotely, but have not yet gone as far as firing employees.
So far, over 90% of Citigroup employees have complied with the mandate. While Citigroup is the first Wall Street bank to enforce such a strict vaccine mandate, other major US companies, such as Google and United Airlines, have also introduced “no jab, no job” policies.
Wall Street Journal reports that according to a source familiar with the company’s plans Google plans on adding checking accounts to its consumer offerings, essentially allowing people to bank with Google, as opposed to their traditional high street bank.
Very little information has been confirmed so far but we do know that Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union are set to run the accounts under the Google banner, but branded as the financial institutions’ names, rather than the proprietor, Google.
According to several reports, Caesar Sengupta, an executive at Google told WSJ Google does not intend to sell any customer data on the back of its advance into the consumer banking landscape. “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” Sengupta said.
Google is of course not the first Silicon valley giant to dip its toes in the banking game, as we saw Apple reveal plans for the Apple card this year. It has however already faced several issues in getting this project off the ground, from its relationship with Goldman Sachs, who runs the card, to scandals of sexism in its algorithms as of late. Facebook also delved into the financial landscape with its payments operation and the introduction of Libra, which has already lost the majority of its support over regulatory concerns and uncertainty in the crypto sphere.
If Google plans on stepping into the banking landscape and challenging the current status quo, which in turn is already disrupted by challenger banks and fintech start-ups, it will have to move quickly and without any hiccups. Perhaps we could see a Google bank or Bank of Google in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled.