FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, China

Citi crosses 7-million mark for digital clients in Asia

It's the rise of the machines.

Citi has passed the 7 million mark for clients in Asia that are signed up for digital banking services for their banking needs including online, mobile phones and other digital channels. At the end of April 2014 Citi had 7.4m clients registered for Digital Banking services.

“Our aim is to be the world’s leading digital bank and in Asia we are seeing strong pick up for our digital banking services. Technology and digitization are transforming the way in which we serve our clients. Consumer preferences are changing and a generational shift in behavior is driving consumers to new digital channels,” said Jonathan Larsen, Head of Consumer Banking for Citi in Asia Pacific.

Citi has been investing heavily in technology to support the expansion of its consumer-banking business in the region. At the end of 2013 the bank also partnered with 3 Hong Kong to launch a mobile banking wallet in Hong Kong. 

New Citibank branches have also taken on a digital model. These "smart-banking" branches include interactive touch panels, video-conferencing capabilities and full-service banking from devices such as iPhones and iPads. These were launched first in Japan in 2009 and since have been rolled out across the world, including over 100 in Asia. The bank has also been investing in new ATM technology and last year launched the next generation ATM in South East Asia, called Citibank Express. The ATM offers all services available in a branch. 

“Speed, simplicity and ubiquity are guiding our use of technology across the world. As a bank there is a priority on using innovation and technology to serve our clients. Technology and digitization are defining global trends of our lifetimes,“ said Larsen. 

According to data nearly 5 billion people are using mobile phones, according to Mobile Phone World with internet access in Asia at around 1billion people, according to Internet World Stats. Mobile phone usage is thus two and a half times more than the number of bank accounts, with the differences especially pronounced in emerging markets. This has important implications for a bank’s consumer franchise with the generational shift in how consumers want to access financial services.

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