The Best U.S. Bank Stock for the Next 20 Years


Last month, the World Bank released a report claiming a dramatic shift in capital and investment away from the developed world and into the emerging markets. As this trend accelerates, only one U.S. mega bank appears ready to capitalize.

The case for globalization in three charts

Source: World Bank.

This chart clearly demonstrates a marked change in the long-term trend in global investment dollars. From 1965 to 2000, high-income, developed economies attracted the vast majority of global investment. Over the 10-year span since then, the developing world has nearly completely caught up. Take particular note of the steep decline in the high income trend during the period from 2007-2009; for developing economies, the same period showed hardly a blip in the trend.

Source: World Bank.

The scale of the change is even more apparent when shown as a percentage. This chart even more clearly shows the stability in global investments from 1965 to 2000, followed by the dramatic change. Clearly, an unprecedented amount of investment is now flowing into the emerging markets.

Source: World Bank.

With the change in the global investment trend to developing markets, banks must now adapt to capture the changing reality. Since 2000, the savings rate of developing economies has, once again, rapidly approached the level of developed economies.

Taken together, this change represents a fundamental shift in the long-term core banking marketplace. Gross investment in the emerging markets increased over 400% to $6 trillion from 2000 to 2010. The World Bank forecast this trend to continue through at least 2030.

With global investment dollars increasingly in emerging markets, banks too must focus on those markets to win the loan, M&A, capital market, deposit, and asset management opportunities today, and more importantly, tomorrow.

Citigroup: The global U.S. megabank
Citigroup, with operations in over 90 countries, is unabashedly the bank most focused on building a global business. Overall, international businesses contributed 58% of the bank's $78 billion in total 2012 revenues.

For Q1 2013, Citi's global consumer banking business reported revenue of $4.9 billion, nearly equal to the $5.1 billion reported by its North American consumer unit. This corresponds with loan balances, where international consumers represent 49% of total loans, or $142 billion.

This strategy stands in stark contrast to rival bank Wells Fargo's . Per Wells' website, the company only has three international locations, all of which are in Western Europe. In its 2012 annual report, the bank states that it offers services in 37 countries; this number is misleading, however, because the services it provides are geared toward assisting U.S. customers with international operations. Wells is focused on the domestic business through and through.

Bank of America has a strong global presence, but as CEO Brian Moynihan continues to reshape the company in the aftermath of the financial crisis, its focus on global business is decreasing.

In 2012, the bank's Global Banking, Global Markets, and Global Wealth and Investment Management segments contributed $47.2 billion to company revenues, or about 56%.However, since Moynihan took the company's helm in 2010, the bank has sold positions in lenders in Brazil, China, and Mexico, as well as sizable consumer loan portfolios from around the world (a more complete list can be seen here).

The largest U.S. bank, JPMorgan Chase , is better-positioned than Wells or Bank of America, but still lags Citi. In contrast to Wells and Bank of America, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently stated that he aims to grow the bank abroad, but prefers stable organic growth instead of more aggressive growth through M&A. As such, Citi's lead in the global market should remain intact for the foreseeable future.

Well-positioned for the long term
The World Bank's report takes a very long view, forecasting trends though 2030. And while long-term forecasts are at best educated guesses, investors should still consider Citi, the best-positioned U.S. megabank to take advantage of continued globalization. Look to growth in Citi's Global Consumer Banking unit to outpace the broader industry for confirmation of this trend.

Citigroup's stock looks tantalizingly cheap. Yet the bank's balance sheet is still in need of more repair, and CEO Michael Corbat still needs to prove himself. Should investors be treading carefully, or jumping on an opportunity to buy? To help figure out whether Citigroup deserves a spot in your portfolio, I invite you to read our premium research report on the bank today. We'll fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Citigroup, and what areas Citigroup investors need to watch going forward. Click here now for instant access to our best expert's take on Citigroup.

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Fool contributor Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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