Banking Beyond the Bank at Citi
By Gavin Michael, Head of Technology, Citi Global Consumer Bank June 08, 2018 02:30 PM
This week I spoke at Digital Banking in Austin about how Citi is approaching banking beyond the bank. Banking has been on a decade-long journey towards integrating financial services more deeply into our customers’ day-to-day ecosystem. Citi is well positioned to be at the center of this ecosystem, to be present where our clients want us, and to help them navigate this new paradigm.
In our quest to become our customers’ always-on life partner, we are looking to deliver an experience that is simpler, better, faster and consistently excellent across channels. For example, at Citi we launched our first-ever voice capability for iPhone users last month. Customers with Touch or Face ID enabled for Citi Mobile can now “ask Siri” for their bank and credit card balances, which provides them with a new, easy way to check their finances. We’re among the first banks to offer this capability.
Whether they realize it or not, our clients are creating their own personalized ecosystem of digital services. Increasingly, they want to spend less time thinking about banking as a standalone activity, but rather think about banking while they’re doing other things – while they’re shopping, while they’re making travel plans, and while they’re talking to their friends. In order to be hyper-relevant to our clients in this multi-channel environment, we need to build and sustain an emotional relationship with them. That means showing up in new places with new capabilities that they wouldn’t traditionally expect from a bank.
The US continues to be an important player in building the future of finance, but in many ways, innovation in other regions is shaping the digital bank of the future. That’s where Citi has an advantage as a global bank, because we’re on the ground in regions where technology is leapfrogging traditional financial tools, where payments are moving in real-time and where day-to-day financial realities are quite different from what people face in the U.S. Wherever we do business around the world, we’re hearing directly from our customers about the challenges and opportunities specific to each market, and we’re actively piloting solutions appropriate for specific geographies, and leveraging those that work well across regions.
We’re putting our APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to work across the franchise and around the world to benefit our customers. For example, Citi China customers can apply for a credit card, inquire on their application status, activate the account, access their account balance, request a credit line increase, obtain an instant loan on their phone and an equal payment plan, all through WeChat. WeChat also provides a platform for customer services and to redeem bonus points. While WeChat is specific to that particular market, we expect to see customers spending more time in such ecosystems globally. In Mexico, Citi was the first bank to publish APIs and is exploring new capabilities in conversational banking, voice technology, and chatbots. In Australia, in collaboration with national airline Qantas, Citi enabled Qantas customers to use Citi’s open APIs to launch two white-label credit cards and an app more capable than anything else on the market. To date, Quantas customers have accumulated over one billion points on the Qantas premier platform, which is now the fastest-growing card in Australia. The app has more than 90,000 downloads on iOS and Android.
We’re also delivering beyond our job descriptions, encouraging forward-compatible behavior across our teams, and cultivating innovative talent. A transformation is underway across our company to deliver the best experience for our customers across the globe. We are hiring top digital and tech talent, investing in retraining and upskilling our staff, emphasizing customer co-creation, accelerating our operating rhythm and fostering a culture of innovation to drive adoption of new technologies.
Financial services is moving towards an open architecture which facilitates collaboration and partnerships that benefit customers across the globe. The concept of what a “bank” is is changing. The future of banking is an API-enabled open banking ecosystem with deeper integration into our customers’ lives – areas like commerce, communication and transportation. A truly open ecosystem will allow clients to:
- Access their finances and receive servicing through any medium they choose;
- Purchase and transfer funds seamlessly, automatically and in real-time without having to choose a payment channel;
- Develop their own financial wellness and make progress towards their financial goals through the power of banking tools and insights – making the bank more than just a place to store money; and
- Benefit from accurate, pre-emptive fraud protection because the customers’ banks understand them so well.
Building on more than 200 years of experience, Citi recognizes that new technologies cannot be ignored nor can we hesitate about innovating new applications and capabilities when faced with new customer demands. Today, that means stepping up to the challenge of banking beyond the bank.