Citigroup said the bank’s digital strategy is causing more customers to interact with it over digital and mobile devices than ever before, a transformation it plans to continue.
Officially, the fourth largest U.S. bank said in presentation Thursday (Oct. 14) that the number of digital and mobile customers worldwide had increased by double digits from pre-pandemic levels, with 14% more digital customers and 24% more clients accessing their accounts via mobile device.
“Our digital strategy and investments are starting to pay dividends,” Citi CEO Jane Fraser said during the Oct. 14 webcast. “Digital deposits stand at $19 billion, [and have] grown 26% in the last year, and we see more than two-thirds of our digital deposit balances coming from customers outside of our branch footprint with about half of those deposits coming from account holders who did not previously have a retail relationship with us.”
More Electronic Statements and Payments
Digital installment loan balances are growing too. Installment loan balances, including Citi’s Flex Loan and Flex Pay products, are up 22% compared to the prior year, Citi CFO Mark Mason reported, adding, “over 80% of these loans are originated digitally.”
In North America, Citi’s Global Consumer Bank (GCB) now has 21.0 million active digital customers, up 5% from last year, and 14.0 million active mobile customers, reflecting a 9% year on year gain.
International growth was even more rapid, with GCB reporting a 9% increase to 15.3 million active digital customers, which was topped by a 14% annual gain in international mobile users which hit 13.5 million.
Fewer Calls to Agents and Branches
More consumers are using electronic statements and electronic payments while making fewer calls to Citi agents, the supplemental materials show.
Over the last 12 months, 57% percent of statements have been e-statements and 84% of payments have been e-payments. Those figures are up from 51% and 75%, respectively, in 2019.
Conversely, the agent contact rate, the total agent-handled calls divided by the average total active accounts, dropped 26% over the last two years.
The number of Citi branches in North America is unchanged from last quarter but down 4% year over year. At the end of Q2 2021, the company had 658 branches in North America.
Investments to be Leveraged
While Fraser said Citi was disappointed by Google’s decision to discontinue Google Plex, the time and money spent were not in vain.
“We learned a lot through the effort and the vast majority of the investments will be leveraged for our proprietary efforts and future partnerships,” Fraser said.
Earlier this month, Google jettisoned plans to offer bank accounts to its users. These Plex accounts would have been offered in cooperation with financial institutions, including Citi.
She noted that Citi’s investments are reusable for future partnerships and existing ones, including 80 APIs that make it easy to operate with partners, a suite of embedded services that are ready to deploy, including real-time digital alerts and partner-branded communications, as well as new tech stacks.
“So, at the end of the day, I think all the things we’ve been doing, both in some of the work with Google but also with partnerships around the world, is going to further our digitization strategy in U.S. consumer, continue helping us grow and drive the returns here,” Fraser said.