Smart Banking Getting Smarter - Citi Unveils New Banking Channel

Chrissy Coleman Asia Correspondent 1 February 2013


Citibank has unveiled a “next-generation banking experience” that links physical and digital banking channels, as part of its aim to become "the world's digital bank".

Citibank has unveiled a “next-generation banking experience” that links physical and digital banking channels, allowing customers to do almost all of their banking without having to step foot into a branch. 

“Citibank Express”, a “smart banking” machine, allows customers to conduct almost all of their banking activity without visiting a branch, including opening accounts and applying for loans, cards and cashier’s checks, Citi said in a statement released.

The facility is equipped with an online banking connection, video-conferencing, and biometric capabilities for customer identity authentication. A customer can start a transaction on a computer or mobile device and complete it on Citibank Express, and vice versa.

While the technology is targeted at the masses, Citi’s innovation won’t go unnoticed by its private banking clients, or its peers. A recent study by Standard Chartered Private Bank, Scorpio Partnership and SEI predicted a significant uptick in high net worth individuals’ use of digital communication channels in the medium term, adding to a growing body of research validating the wealth management industry’s heightened investment in this area.

Looking closely at HNW individuals’ communication habits and attitudes, the study found that respondents expect to increase their use of digital communication channels due to a wide range of benefits they offer, namely efficiency, ease of access, connectivity, flexibility, and value for money. 

Smart and customer-friendly

“Citibank Express is intuitive, intelligent, accessible and customisable,” said Chris Kay, global head of ventures and incubation for Citi Ventures (Citi’s innovation team).

But while HNW individuals’ use of digital communication channels is set to rise, The Futurewealth Report: Stepping into the Communication Age adds the caveat that this will be supplementary to, rather than replacing, traditional communications such as face-to-face meetings and telephone calls. 

Similarly for the retail sector, Citi's Kay said: “We don’t expect it (Citibank Express) to replace branches, but it will simplify our customers’ lives, generate new value for Citi and help to transform the financial services industry."

Citibank Express’ “split screen” is intended to make navigation intuitive - the screen can display personalised promotions and offers, and allows clients to see and speak with a customer service representative on one screen while conducting business on the other, the bank said.

The machines have near field communication capabilities, as well as scanning and embossing functions to allow for future roll-outs of functions such as instant printing of credit and ATM cards.

"Citibank Express is our most recent example of (this) innovative spirit and a big step towards our goal to be the world’s digital bank. We believe it can significantly impact the way people bank across the globe," said Jonathan Larson, Citi's global head of retail banking and head of consumer banking.

The first Citibank Express machines were unveiled earlier this week in Citibank branches in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The company plans to add in-branch and out of- branch locations across Asia and globally later this year.

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