US banking giant Citi to unveil more digital moves

US banking giant Citi is redesigning its mobile service for its credit card customers in Asia, with this service due to be up and running by year-end.

Citi is also rolling out its natural language chatbot on Facebook Messenger worldwide after making its global launch in Singapore.

These moves come as the bank has made a concerted push on the digital front.

"It has been 21/2 years of transforming our business from an analog to a digital business," said Mr Anand Selvakesari, head of consumer banking for Asia-Pacific and EMEA at Citi.

Such efforts have paid off.

Between 2016 and this year, Citi's consumer bank operations for Asia "cost-to-serve" fell by 10 per cent, with the net income in the first quarter now at US$1.12 billion (S$1.5 billion).

Asia remains the largest income-generating region outside of North America for Citi, even as physical branches have been reduced by about 30 per cent.

Like other banks, Citi has offered banking services through WeChat, and is the first to offer similar banking services through the Line app in Thailand. Consequently, call centre inquiries are down 40 per cent in China and 22 per cent in Thailand, said Mr Selvakesari.

Voice biometricsauthentication have shortened call durations by about 30 seconds each.

Today, nine out of 10 retail transactions are done through digital channels at Citi, while 40 per cent of consumer loans are acquired online.

Mr Selvakesari said:"Citi has also opened up close to 100 application programming interfaces, or APIs, of its services to partners that can help to distribute its services."

APIs are a set of commands that allow software applications to speak to one another.

Such partners include aggregators that sell credit cards through their platforms. One in three Citi cards is acquired online. - THE STRAITS TIMES