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News Summary: Citi plans office in Baghdad

The Associated Press

BANKING ON IRAQ: Citigroup Inc. is set to become the first American bank to open an office of its own in Baghdad, highlighting financial firms' growing interest in Iraq.

CONCERNS REMAIN: Iraq has struggled to attract interest from Western companies outside of the oil sector in the 10 years since U.S.-led forces toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Security and political instability remain major concerns, and corruption within the top-heavy statist economy is deeply entrenched.

ECONOMIC OPENING: Even so, foreign banks see opportunities as Iraq's economy opens up on the back of an oil boom. British bank Standard Chartered is also making a push in Iraq.