Citi's Plan to Plow $2.5 Billion Into Mexico Unfazed by Trump's Wall

This article, originally published at 4:44 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, has been updated with Banamex's current capital level.

Citigroup (C) , the U.S. bank that's pledged to pump $2.5 billion of new investment into Mexico, remains undaunted in its commitment despite Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential race, which dragged the peso down by 10%.

The lender, which owns one of Mexico's biggest banks, has seen its stock price lag in the past week as overall financial-company shares surged on the prospect of reduced regulation and higher interest rates under a Trump presidency. Citigroup's shares have gained 9.2% since the election, versus a 12% climb in the KBW Bank Index.

"The market's view of Mexico perhaps is not quite as constructive right now as our view of Mexico," Citigroup CFO John Gerspach told investors Wednesday at a conference in New York. "We still think there is a lot of value in that Mexico franchise."

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During the campaign, Trump promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, one of the biggest drivers of Mexico's economic growth since it took effect in 1994. The president-elect also pledged to build an "impenetrable physical wall" along the border and force Mexico to pay for it. In an interview broadcast Sunday on "60 Minutes," Trump said he might accept a fence instead of a wall in certain areas.

Citigroup bought its Mexican bank, Banamex, in 2001 for $12.5 billion. In recent years, the Mexican operations have led to suits over money laundering and regulatory fines over an alleged loan fraud involving the offshore oil-services company Oceanografia.

In 2014, Citigroup disclosed that it would pump $1.5 billion of new capital into Mexico over four years, and in October it announced an additional $1 billion investment to shore up technology, revamp branches and rebrand the franchise as "Citibanamex." As of Sept. 30, Citigroup's Mexican holding company, Grupo Financiero Banamex, had 183 billion pesos ($9 billion) of capital, according to a quarterly report.

Gerspach, the CFO, said the bank still sees "good returns" ahead from the Mexican franchise.

"We'll have to see exactly where this all translates to from trade protectionism," Gerspach said, according to a transcript. "Is there a wall? Is it partially a fence? Maybe. I don't know if that has any difference if part of it is a fence as opposed to a wall, but we'll see. It's too early to tell."

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