When Citigroup set up its finance captive in Costa Rica in 2007, the company started with 25 positions, growing quickly to 200 employees. Over time, that core group has blossomed to 1,100, with the global financial services firm still in growth mode and anticipating an addition of another 200 employees in 2014.
“It will keep growing,” says Francisco Camargo, head of Citi Shared Services in Costa Rica. “In May we are officially opening a new campus. This is a big project – a state-of-the-art LEED certified building that will be able to accommodate our ongoing expansion plans.”
Camargo is referring to Citi’s $35 million dollar investment in a new center in Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose. Called Campus Citi, the new facility will be able to absorb the anticipated expansion to 1700 employees in the next two years. “We started in Costa Rica with financial reporting operations,” says Camargo. “Over time we have added accounts payable, procurement, HR services. We now also support seven financial products.”
In looking for a location for its shared services captive, Citi assessed Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Brazil, which at the time had a favorable exchange rate and, of course, a large talent pool.
“Brazil was considered because we had to support it, and we needed a talent base of Portuguese speakers,” says Camargo, who is from Brazil. “But our reviews focused on the fact that the shared service support was specific to finance, and here Costa Rica really shone.”