Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 12 News List

INTERVIEW: Asia a vital contributor to Citigroup’s growth: CEO

Citigroup chief executive officer Michael Corbat shared his insights into meeting the company’s goal for 2020 and Taiwan’s role in the endeavor in an e-mail interview yesterday with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Ted Chen

TT: Disruption is shaking up every business. How is Citi responding to that challenge to stay relevant in Asia?

Corbat: At Investor Day we also spent a lot of time talking about the investments we are making to drive revenue growth and productivity – with the bulk of these investments focused on digital, automation and other tech initiatives. With client engagement rapidly shifting to digital channels, mobile continues to be at the core of delivering an ever simpler, better customer experience for our customers and clients.

We are building an end-to-end digital bank, which will enable us to acquire, engage, and service clients entirely though digital channels. In Asia, over half of our clients use mobile devices regularly. This rapid increase in mobile penetration has been a key factor in our decision to invest in the digital ecosystems where our customers are increasingly active.

We are also currently working to redesign our branches, introduce sweeping product enhancements, invest in our digital capabilities for our wealth management offering, expand ATM access, and accelerate speed to market across all of our digital initiatives. Another area we are continuing to explore, especially across Asia Pacific, is APIs (application programming interfaces), which provide scale and greater relevance to our clients across all of our consumer markets. We have recently opened API access for partners including LINE, WeChat, Airbnb, Amazon and Grab.

With a client base of 17 million consumer banking clients in Asia Pacific, Citi is an attractive partner to fintech companies. We view our work in the space as partnership driven and additive to the overall ecosystem and in keeping with the broader trends in financial services. Through our Institutional Clients Group we also provide banking services to many of China’s leading fintech companies and play a critical role as they expand across the world.

We are continually looking to the future and stay at the forefront of technology and innovation. One way we do this is through strategic investments made through Citi Ventures, our internal innovation engine. Citi Ventures is located in Silicon Valley and is charged with conceiving, launching and scaling new initiatives with the potential to transform the future of financial services. Our Ventures team invests in startups across a variety of sectors and leads a number of initiatives that support and incubate talent and new ideas within Citi and within the broader ecosystem.

TT: Your bank has taken the lead on many issues globally from climate change to sustainable finance and your Global Community Day is always well supported in Taiwan. What issues are important to Citi in the coming decade?

Corbat: At Citi, we have a clear mission that goes beyond just providing responsible financial services to our customers and clients. We’re dedicated to enabling progress and growth around the world, and as such, we become involved in issues that lie at the core of our value as a firm and are important to our people. Increasingly, we are seeing our colleagues around the world express interest for an open dialogue around how we approach the issues and topics where we do take a stand.

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