Citibank Case Study
HKU197 06/07/02 Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking Citibank’s Global Cash and Trade division was in the business of managing the flow of money for its corporate customers. It provided the tools and channels for its customers to receive money efficiently and to make payment in a timely fashion. In 2000, intense competition and the dot com boom put pressure on Citibank and its competitors to transform their business in the new economy. In response to these challenges, Citibank made a serious push to deliver integrated solutions that would enable its corporate customers to conduct transactions on-line.
Citibank’s e-business strategy – Connect, Transform and Extend – was to Web-enable its core services, develop integrated solutions, and reach new markets. The ultimate goal was to build a single Web-enabled platform for all customers with similar needs. To transform its Global Cash and Trade Division into an e-business, Citibank faced challenges in serving its corporate customers who had discrepant needs. Sophisticated clients, such as multinational companies (MNCs), required custom-built host-to-host product interface.
Other customers, such as the small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), were more conservative and were not ready for web-based solutions. How could Citibank build a flexible and agile e-business product that could capture their total cash management & trade service needs? Given Citibank’s enormous global reach, how could it integrate the Internet initiatives into its overall strategy and create sustainable competitive advantages? Global Corporate Banking at Citibank1 Citibank was incorporated in 1812 under the name of City Bank of New York.
The bank had experienced several mergers since inception. The name Citibank N. A. was adopted in 1976. Following the merger with Travellers Group in 1998, the holding company changed its name to Citigroup Inc. In 2001, the Group employed 268,000 staff across over 100 countries serving 192 million customers. Baron, D. and Besanko, D. (2001), “Strategy, Organization and Incentives: Global Corporate Banking at Citibank,” Industrial and Corporate Change, 10(1), pp. 12-14. 1 Marissa McCauley prepared this case in conjunction with Shamza Khan under the supervision of Prof. Julie H.
Yu and Dr. Ali Farhoomand for class discussion. This case is not intended to show effective or ineffective handling of decision or business processes. This case is part of a project funded by a teaching development grant from the University Grants Committee (UGC) of Hong Kong. © 2002 by The Centre for Asian Business Cases, The University of Hong Kong. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise (including the Internet) – without the permission of The University of Hong Kong.
Ref. 01/130C 7 June, 2002 1 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking Since the 1990s, Citibank’s corporate banking activities evolved from a highly decentralised set of operation to a more centralised one, with much attention focused on 1,400 large global corporations and institutional investors. By 1997, Citibank was one of the most profitable banks in the US. Its profits in 1997 were US$3. 59 billion, with global corporate banking accounting for US$2. 56 billion. By most measures, Citibank was the most global US bank.
For corporate customers, Citibank traditionally provided a full range of financial services, except for investment banking services in the US. The core products were broadly grouped into three categories: 1. Transaction services – such as cash management, trade and custody services 2. Corporate finance services – such as working capital finance, trade finance and asset-based financing 3. Treasury market services – such as hedging and foreign exchange Citibank’s Cash Management and Trade Services (2000) Citibank had a defined strategy for its corporate banking operations.
Its target corporate client base included multi-nationals, financial institutions, government sectors, local corporations and the SME businesses. Cash and Trade service was a core product offered to these clients. Citibank’s Cash and Trade division cleared approximately US$1 trillion worth of financial transactions for customers & counterparts around the world daily. These included foreign exchange transactions, equities, deposits, settlement of a trade transaction or payment of insurance policies. Where there were transactions between buyers and sellers, Citibank always wanted to be in the middle acting as an intermediary.
Citibank understood that many banks had similar product offerings. It differentiated itself through customer service across the spectrum, by offering telephone hotlines, relationship managers who understood clients’ needs, product consultants who provided service expertise, and most importantly, continuous investment in technology to support both the front-end and back-end electronic banking systems. Cash and Treasury Management Products The main focus of cash management was to find ways to move money around in the most efficient manner possible in supporting customers’ requirement.
Two crucial aspects of a corporate treasurer’s needs were accounts payable and accounts receivable. Citibank focused on developing solutions to address three process areas – (1) Accounts Receivable Process Management, (2) Accounts Payable Process Management and (3) Liquidity Management [see Exhibit 1]. Trade Products Citibank offered Trade Finance, Trade Services and Trade Support Services. Product offering covered the banking service and financing needs of customers who had import and/or export trade transactions [see Exhibit 2].
Pricing and Customer Service Citibank set a standard price for each service, but price discrimination was discretionary based on client volume and value. While some banks competed on price, Citibank preferred to emphasise its customer service – response time, technology and support – which gave customers full confidence to use Citibank. Citibank had moved beyond traditional boundaries of banking service by taking over some of the back-office functions of its customers. Customers could move away from the paper-based, highly manual intensive payment and 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking collection process, and focus resources on their core business of generating sales & revenue. The value to Citibank in offering outsourcing services was to lock in its corporate customers: when a customer outsourced all of its back-end processes, Citibank secured all the business from the customer and gained a total relationship with the customer. Also, managing the processes for a large number of customers provided Citibank with economies of scale.
We have the economy of scale and it is viable for us to do all the back-end processes – because the more processes we do for more customers, the lower the unit cost. So our strategy is to get as many outsourcing customers as we can, and by providing the outsourcing, we get the total wallet of the client. – Caroline Wong, Head of e-Business Group (Cash & Trade), Citibank Hong Kong2 A Changing Global Environment Smarter and Tougher Customers Citibank had developed expertise and had specific coverage models to serve different market segments.
However, as more of Citibank’s clients expanded their businesses globally and became e-enabled, it became necessary for Citibank to shift to e-space. In particular, corporations that historically dealt largely through wholesale channels found that the Internet allowed them to sell directly to customers. Sophisticated corporate customers began to look for an additional range of services. They wanted to collect payment on-line and had access to more efficient Web-enabled financial processes. 3 Middle markets were also driving the growing need for Internet banking capabilities.
A study by Greenwich Associates in May-June 2001 showed that over half of the middle-market companies in the US and Canada were using their financial institutions’ on-line banking facilities more often. Nearly 50 per cent of respondents said on-line offerings represented an important component of their banking relationships and cash management had the steepest gain in usage among mid-size companies. 4 Banks were therefore pressured to identify what companies were looking for and to keep up with the customers with whom they were supposed to develop “consultative” relationships.
The B2B Market in 2000 Sophisticated clients were looking for ways to streamline and improve their traditional payment processes. They demanded electronic invoicing, automatic application of payments to accounts receivable, on-line payment guarantees and non-repudiation of transactions that could be enabled by digital receipts stored in archives. On the payment side of the transaction, businesses required multi-currency payment management and payment aggregation by invoice and currency.
Most companies were interested in technological solutions that allowed them to avoid paper disputes, which meant that the information flowing with a payment was deemed to be as important as the payment. 5 TowerGroup predicted that payment activities would migrate to the Internet and that there would be US$4 trillion in B2B e-payments activities by 2010. TowerGroup also reported that Interview with Citibank e-Business Group in Hong Kong in July 2001. Cockerill, C. (2001), “Cash management takes to the Internet,” Euromoney, Iss. 381, London, January, p. 105. Greenwich Associates is an international research and consulting firm specialising in financial services. Greenwich interviewed 500 corporate treasurers and other executives at middle-market companies in the US and Canada in May-June 2001. See also Rountree, D. (2001), “Importance of on-line banking,” Bank Technology News, 14(11), New York, 2 November, p. 86. 5 For example, if a company shipped a buyer 100 products at US$10 per piece, but five of the products were defective, the company might simply remit US$950 electronically without any information about the defective products.
In such a case, there would be greater possibility of costly payment processes because of back and forth inquiries. The solution would be to send a paper explanation; however this could translate to additional billing inquiries and disputes. 3 2 3 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking in 2000 more than 90 per cent of all B2B payments were made by cheque, with seven per cent occurring over automated clearinghouse (ACH) network, a non-Internet system designed to handle large payments, and the rest using financial EDI services such as Fedwire. The majority of small businesses used traditional payments such as cheques; large companies that used ACH did not have the complete data that surrounded a B2B payment. In addition to cheques, various payment methods were available, with clearance time varying according to the method: • • • • • Notes and coins – Notes and coins paid into an account did not require clearing; it had no particular attraction to a bank, especially in large volumes, because they were a non-interest-bearing item Banker’s draft – A cheque drawn on a bank. A payment by banker’s draft was guaranteed.
Credit cards – Made by voucher or electronically; voucher payments were processed in similar way to cheques. Special presentation of cheques – Taken only in cases of extreme doubt about the customer; for example, the payee company could ask its bank to make a special presentation of the cheque by posting the cheque to the paying customer’s bank. Transfers – Funds were transferred from one bank account to another on receipt of instructions (through telephone, subsequently confirmed by writing, on paper, sent by cable, telex or electronic processing centre) by the paying bank to make the payment.
Competition Some multinational companies could not wait for banks to develop Web-enabled financial products so they started building their own systems and looking for ways to disintermediate banks. Other corporations approached the banks and signified their interest in participating in future developments. New technology, however, required major investments in people, risk and technological services that some banks were not ready to make. The banking industry’s trend towards consolidation meant that fewer banks were competing at the global transactions services marketplace.
Deutsche Bank and Citibank were two leading banks that had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the infrastructure required to move and monitor cash balances on-line. ABN AMRO was also making a serious push to develop its product range. In early 2001, Deutsche Bank was seeking to outdo its competitors by building a global payment system capable of accommodating many currencies, languages and local business practices, a service called db-eBills. More large banks were seeking partnerships to provide a total, global business solution.
In international cash management (ICM), companies either partnered with a lead bank that put together a solution for them, or dealt directly with local banks. The majority of companies used a lead bank to provide a solution in four ways: using correspondent banks, acting as an overlay bank, becoming a member of a banking club or bringing together a network of standardised service providers [refer to Exhibit 2 for trends in international cash management in 2000]. Most of the Fortune 500 companies preferred Citibank when making international epayments. Although Citibank established itself as a strong contender in the e-payment space, technology companies competed heavily by using their technological expertise and interests in providing new services. 6 7 To use the ACH network, a company is required to have US$10 million to US$50 million in annual revenues. Clark, P. (2001), “No longer banking on exchanges,” B to B, 86(13), 25 June, p. 13. 4 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking Citibank e-Business Strategy We are here to serve our clients: whatever our clients want us to do we’ll do it for them.
We’re into e-business not because we’re into the dotcom business; we’re here because our clients want us to continue performing the basic banking functions for them on the web. – Caroline Wong, Head of e-Business Group (Cash & Trade), Citibank Hong Kong8. Citibank’s vision was to become the world’s leading e-business enabler. It aimed to empower local, regional and global customers and the B2B2C marketplace and provide solutions to help them take advantage of the efficiencies and opportunities created by e-commerce.
Citibank’s e-business strategy to connect, transform and extend was a means to deliver on its vision (refer to Figure 1 and Figure 2 for details of Citibank’s e-business strategy). CONNECT Web-enable its core services to connect with its customers TRANSFORM Draw the full range of Citibank’s capabilities to deliver integrated solutions EXTEND Reach new markets, new customers and new products Figure 1: Citibank’s e-Business Strategy9 Embed Citibank as the trusted brand within communities Build a network of strategic partners Help customers to serve themselves Web-enable core services Create knowledge-based e-services “e-Us”
Figure 2: The Six Key Elements of Citibank’s e-Business Strategy Citibank e-Business Structure In March 2000, Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mr. Sanford Weill announced the formation of the Internet Operation Group, a high-level committee charged with spreading responsibility for Internet activities more evenly between e-Citi, an incubator for Internet initiatives, and the bank’s business units. In April 2000, the group announced the second phase of Citigroup’s Internet activity – the creation of two units aimed at infusing the Internet into all consumer and corporate banking activities: e-Consumer and e-Business.
Both units were intended to complement e-Citi. 10 In May 2000 two new business units, e-Capital Markets and e-Asset Management, were added. Mr. Jorge Bermudez, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Cash Management and Trade Services, was appointed to lead the e-Business unit. 11 Mr. Bermudez’s e-Business unit 8 9 Interview with Citibank e-Business Group in Hong Kong in July 2001. Asiamoney (2001), “CitiDirect Online Banking – a new era in business banking,” Asiamoney, May, p. 84. 10 Mr. Robert Willumstad was head of e-Consumer while Mr.
Edward Horowitz was head of e-Citi. 11 Mr. Bermudez reported to Mr. Victor Menezes, Chairman and Chief Executive of Citibank, and to the IOG. 5 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking was responsible for developing Internet software for corporate clients setting up B2B electronic commerce exchanges. The new business units brought people from the business lines together with people from the Internet side of operations, which combined resources and eliminated duplication and competition.
The new strategy of forming high-level committees reversed the centralised approach that Citigroup had pursued under Mr. John Reed, the driving force behind the formation of e-Citi. 12 Citigroup’s new structure involved traditional business units in formulating Internet strategies and forming committees to co-ordinate and synthesises, an approach that mirrored that of other banks13. In the early days of the Internet, banks erroneously managed e-business as a separate project. Citibank’s Alliance Strategy Before 2000, Citibank had tried to excel at all facets of e-business – a strategy that failed.
The Company invested millions of dollars and tried to specialise in each area such as software development, systems development and front-end services; however clients and software technology were constantly changing and Citibank was struggling to keep pace with client needs. By 2000, Citibank’s strategy focused on alliances and the use of its partners’ strengths. Specifically, Citibank partnered with companies that had complementary technology or infrastructure or access to markets. Mr.
Tom Edgerton, Alliances Head for Citibank e-business, explained the need for forming alliances: In the future, it won’t be what your company can do, but what the network of companies you work with can provide. 14 Citibank’s key technology players included Oracle, Commerce One Inc. , SAP AG, Wisdom Technologies and Bolero. net. In August 2000, four companies teamed up with Citibank to form FinancialSettlement Matrix. com, a company that connected buyers and sellers in emarketplaces with payment processing, credit and other services through multiple participating banks and financial service companies. 5 Citibank’s challenge was how to manage the vendors and suppliers and ensure that they understand Citibank’s strategy and would not exploit the Bank’s strengths of the information base. Mr. Edgerton said of companies that had approached Citibank to partner them: “Citibank brings considerable value to potential alliance partners. They’re interested in our brand, our financial services expertise, our global presence, our strong customer relationships and position as a trusted provider, as well as our knowledge of specific industries and international markets. CONNECT Customer convenience had been the thrust of Citibank’s continuous evolution of its products and services. Key to this goal was providing clients with more channels to access Citibank, and the Internet provided Citibank the flexibility to meet this demand. A core part of our e-business strategy is Web-enabling our current services. With CitiDirect, we are building the infrastructure that will serve as the foundation for many of the value-added services we are developing on the Internet. Mr. Reed resigned from his co-CEO post on April 18, 2000. For example, Wells Fargo & Co. and Chase Manhattan Corp. ntegrated Internet their efforts more closely with their business units. 14 Citibank (2000), “Citi seeks alliances to accelerate into the e-space,” The Citibank Globe, November-December, at URL: http://www. citibank. com/e-business/, 3 December, 2001. 15 Citibank partner companies were Enron Broadband Services (a delivery platform), i2 Technologies (an integrated openarchitecture solution), S1 Corporation (Internet-based payment processing) and Wells Fargo & Company (provided complementary services to the entire e-business market). 13 12 6 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking Jorge Bermudez, Citibank Executive Vice President and e-Business Head16 CitiDirect was designed for corporate customers to do full transactions on-line anywhere around the world. 17 It was a browser-based delivery channel designed to deliver on-line all of Citibank’s cash management and trade products and services, enabling customers to make inquiries about their account balances, request statements, provide transaction initiation details and request statement transaction reports on-line and in real time. CitiDirect allowed customers to perform these functions at any location with internet access.
This was particularly useful for global companies with operations spread out in many countries but wished to maintain control at regional or global treasury centres. CitiDirect was piloted in October 2000. In Asia, it was piloted in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Malaysia. 18 By December 2000, CitiDirect was already operating in 36 countries and four languages. In 2000, CitiDirect was available in five languages; it was expected to be operating in 80 countries and 20 languages – and doing a trillion dollars worth of business a day by 2002. 19 In May 2001, CitiDirect was already serving 1,000 customers world-wide.
TRANSFORM Transaction processing, such as cash management, trade finance and derivatives, were backoffice activities that were not at the forefront of a customer’s mind. Traditionally, transaction processing for a corporate customer, e. g. , the transactional work involved in loan processing, was a function of the bank-customer relationship. Citibank’s global presence translated to a huge transactional business and required supporting more than 200 data centres, which were doing basic, repeatable processes. In 1998, Citibank realised that, similar to any other factory product, this could be commoditised.
Starting in 1998, Citibank began the transformation. Regionalisation The transformation process involved consolidating all the data centres within each country and moving them to Singapore. Data were centralised and systems were developed to manage the automatic processing of transactions. By May 1999, the data centres were rationalised to 60. On the operations side, Citibank began with the regionalisation of cash and trade, which afforded Citibank a complete focus on the process. Approaches that Citibank had taken in deciding the location for the regionalised centres were not mutually exclusive.
It had considered the following in various combinations: • • • • Take the biggest infrastructure already existing and build it up to replace all the smaller centres (e. g. , Singapore) Greenfield approach – ask where to get the best balance of all factors of production and start there from scratch (e. g. , Penang) Available people and skills (e. g. , Sydney) Pure cost of labour; for lower-skilled areas such as voucher processing Singapore, which had back-office operations of several of the bank’s business units, was the first processing centre that was regionalised; it was followed by Penang. 0 Next to be Citibank (2000), “CitiDirect putting banking at customers’ fingertips,” The Citibank Globe, November-December, at URL: http://www. citibank. com/e-business/, 3 December, 2001. 17 Citibank asked its customers what they wanted from e-commerce and the Internet throughout the development of CitiDirect; customers put a premium on security, stability, speed, accuracy and user-friendliness. CitiDirect was designed with the customers’ needs in mind. 18 Asiamoney (2001), “CitiDirect Online Banking – a new era in business banking,” Asiamoney, May, p. 83. 19 Power, C. 2000), “Citi deploys its web troops into business lines,” American Banker, 165(230), New York, 1 December, p. 1. 20 In Singapore, front-end securities processing was also regionalised; however, due to local settlement issues the back-end processing of securities transactions still needed to be done in individual countries. 16 7 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking regionalised was Sydney’s foreign exchange and derivatives centre. The centres used to be time-zone centric, such that decisions were based on the three continental time zones of Europe, Asia and the Americas.
By 2001, the largest centres were in Penang, Malaysia; Singapore; Mumbai, India; Dublin in Europe; and Delaware and Buffalo in the US. The regionalised and specialised processing centres provided Citibank scale and continual improvement opportunities. They reduced the cycle time for transactions, minimised error rates to near zero and yielded new efficiencies for Citibank and its customers. We’re now able to fragment the process and focus on the little pieces that make the difference, this also means that there’s a lot of exchange of information and standardisation of processes.
Venry Krishnakumar, Citibank Vice President and Regional Director,Operation and Technology (O&T) Asia Pacific & Japan21 Internalising the Web Within Citibank, there was a programme to promote the e-workplace; the processing centres in particular had taken off with internalising the Web. The transformations in the processing cycle were taken further to focus on transforming workflow automation; employees had access to information without the need to make phone calls, check paper files or send faxes.
By contrast, old-style processing centres required millions of cheques and huge reconcilement departments, which were paper-based and labour-intensive. The centralised and specialised location of processing made it easier for Citibank to secure databases into the processing of a transaction; e. g. , signature verification and digital imaging systems were linked into the funds-transfer system. 22 Straight-through Automation Citibank was continuously pushing the limits of straight-through automation by constantly deploying various initiatives.
For example, Citibank had conducted some artificial intelligence projects such as pre-populating forms with historical data, which dramatically reduced error rates. It could select rejected transactions and take a look at a customer’s previous history with similar transactions and try to predict what the customer would try to do. 23 The effective implementation of such projects was attributable to the qualified and experienced staff at Citibank. The benefits of efficiency and cost savings also trickled down to Citibank’s customers.
In traditional transactions customers deposit a cheque into an ATM or opened a LC by submitting all paperwork to a bank, but they did not know when the bank actually performed the task. With Citibank’s straight-through processing, customers’ expectations and need to know were matched because the processes were on-line and in real time. Achievements Proof that Citibank was at the top of the league was the awards it received [see Exhibit 3]. Citibank was the first in the financial services industry to receive a quality award through its Singapore cash processing centre or regional cash process management unit (officially known as RCPMU). 4 Customers seemed to value Citibank’s efforts; customer surveys showed that RCPMU was rated better than its competitors in the areas of accuracy, timeliness, accessibility and responsiveness, for several years in a row. Processing was fast becoming 21 22 Finance Asia (2001), “Processing comes to the fore,” Finance Asia, May, p. 83. A system similar to SWIFT and forex systems. 23 Finance Asia (2001), “Processing comes to the fore,” Finance Asia, May, p. 83. 24 The Centre processed up to US$20 billion worth of transactions daily. 8 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking ne of Citibank’s unique selling propositions. Citibank’s commitment to excellence in its processing business translated to greater transparency of the process for customers, allowing them full access to information about the status of their transaction. EXTEND CitiDirect’s roll-out was evidence of Citibank’s vision of delivering transaction services online anywhere in the world, any time. Building a new global infrastructure gave Citibank the opportunity to deliver e-products at scale more quickly and more efficiently to customers, and any capability improvements in one region would be seamlessly deployed world-wide.
Citibank expected CitiDirect to evolve constantly, which would give Citibank the flexibility to continuously enhance the system according to the changing needs of its customers. Other European banks focused mainly on providing pan-European solutions; fewer banks wanted to deliver global services. Citibank’s priority was to move all its corporate customers onto CitiDirect, because its main goal was to retire the legacy systems of the old-style electronic banking. Citibank had to contend, however, with difficulties in migrating certain customers from using traditional means to using the new products and services.
Citibank’s corporate clients included top-tier MNCs as well as SMEs. Previously, Citibank had not focused on SMEs; it was in 1997 that it started to consider the SME segment and introduced CitiBusiness. 25 While MNCs with an e-business focus knew what they wanted, SMEs that wanted an e-business presence were unsure how to move on. Some were not even e-enabled and were still tied up with the legacy systems of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The greatest concern of most customers was security. Some resisted making the transformation because they were sceptical about security, and such old behaviour was entrenched.
In part, these concerns about security hindered Citibank to roll out the Web-based applications despite Citibank’s readiness. CitiDirect had already developed sophisticated security procedures using the latest encryption techniques. Its multi-layered security architecture included public and private access keys, single-use passwords and multiple authorisation controls. In 2001, Citibank was still providing services using legacy systems for conservative SME customers, while at the same time serving global customers such as MNCs that demanded to transact through the Internet.
Citibank was aware that building customers’ trust in the Web entailed a long education process. To encourage conservative customers to embrace CitiDirect, Citibank’s plan was to build a strategy that included a pricing incentive scheme. The Citibank Advantage Global Reach As part of a global financial institution that employed over 268,000 employees across 100 countries, Citibank was uniquely positioned to serve its customers’ global needs. In the emerging markets where 86% of the world’s population lived, accounting for 43% of the world’s purchasing power, Citibank had implemented an Embedded Bank strategy.
That was, a bank that had roots in the country as deep as any local indigenous bank, building a broad customer base, offering diverse products, actively participating in the community and recruiting staff and senior management from the local population. This local commitment and CitiBusiness was a one-stop financing solution offered to small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Products and services included CitiBusiness Direct (Internet banking); Cash Management; Trade Services and Trade Finance (trade products); CitiCorp Commercial
Finance (asset-based finance); treasury products such as Spot and Forward Foreign Exchange, Interest Rate Hedging and Yield Enhancement Investment Products; and a Customer Centre. The Customer Centre provided CitiService (an integrated customer inquiry line for after-sales service), Document Collection (an express collection service), CitiFax (a convenient way to update account information) and CitiBusiness Direct (providing on-line access to account information and transaction initiation). 25 9 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking istory together with the global reach and expertise was a powerful combination that sets Citibank apart from its competition. In 2002, Citibank celebrated its 100th year of operations in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines & Singapore. Strong Brand Citibank had developed a strong brand recognition. Customers regarded Citibank as an innovative, global bank offering excellent customer service. Continuous Investment in Technology Citibank was committed to upholding its position as a premier supplier of cash management and transactional banking services and was investing heavily on technology to improve its services.
The main goal was to provide corporate customers the most cost-effective, cuttingedge, reliable and secure solutions. A Citibank senior executive outlined one of the bank’s competitive advantages:26 We continuously invest in technology and it’s one of our competitive advantages. We’ve been around a long time, we have been able to invest year after year and we have seen compounded value from that. A new entrant would have a difficult time investing all at once, but by spending money on infrastructure – not on salespeople or front ends – I think that’s how you stay in the position we’re in.
If there’s any trick at all that’s it. I think this is an incredibly relevant issue for the Internet in general. It’s not about building the new front end, although we’re doing that too, it’s about what you’re doing to connect to it. Conclusion The Internet had touched so many areas in banking and changed how institutions make strategic decisions. At the same time, technology changed customers’ expectations and needs. It was a challenge for Citibank to translate its traditional strengths to the Internet that would add value to its customers.
Citibank was responding to this challenge by: • • • Web-enabling access points to allow customers to connect seamlessly to Citibank Building a new global infrastructure to deliver products and services on-line Integrating products in new ways In a business environment where change was inevitable, Citibank needed a distinctive strategic direction that would create competitive advantages that would not be easily replicated by its competitors. In addition, Citibank would need to make global transformation to deliver its e-business strategy and create a culture that would embrace the e-concept, a key element of a highly integrated e-business. 6 Finance Asia (2001), “Processing comes to the fore,” Finance Asia, May, p. 83. 10 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking EXHIBIT 1 CITIBANK’S TREASURY AND CASH MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES 11 01/130C Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking EXHIBIT 2 CITIBANK’S TRADE SERVICE PRODUCTS Letter of Credit Issuance Collections Standby Letter of Credits / Guarantees Confirming Letter of Credits Advising Letter of Credits Trade Advisory Risk Mitigation Negotiation Export Letters of Credit 12 1/130 Citibank’s e-Business Strategy for Global Corporate Banking EXHIBIT 3 THE MAIN TRENDS IN INTERNATIONAL CASH MANAGEMENT (ICM) IN 2000 § § § § § The centralisation of cash management and the introduction of shared service centres has continued in large companies and is spreading to medium-sized and small companies. A growing acceptance of the need to outsource ICM operations. Companies realising that the company-bank relationship is more important than whether or not a bank can offer Internet-based or e-commerce services.
Companies increasingly wanting to understand and be comfortable with a bank’s ecommerce strategy before they are prepared to award them business. The use of cross-border zero-balance accounts growing much faster than notional pooling, because many companies now have sophisticated in-house cash and treasury management systems to manage them. A growing realisation in some of the major banks that a network of standardised service provider banks is not always enough; it is also important to have a local branch or branches in countries around the world.
Banks walking away from the ICM business when it has ceased to be profitable, producing a growing understanding and acceptance in large companies that banks need to make reasonable returns otherwise the standard and quality of services will inevitably suffer. As banks’ ICM products and memberships of local clearings become similar, the key differentiator in the business will be delivery. § § § Source: Adapted from Large, J. (2001), “Moving into the business solution management area,” Corporate Finance, London, September, pp. 4-14. EXHIBIT 4 CITIBANK AWARDS IN ASIA – 2001 § § Best Cash Management Bank, Best Foreign Exchange Bank, Best Project Finance House, Best Commercial Bank in Asia – The Assets, 2001 Best Bank in Asia – Euromoney, 2001 Best Cash Management Bank (1997 – 2001), Best Foreign Exchange Bank, Best Project Finance House, Best Syndicated Loan House, Best Commercial Bank in Asia, Best Foreign Commercial Bank in Hong Kong (1997, 1999 – 2001) – Finance Asia, 2001 Best Bank of the Year ( 1998, 1999, 2001) – IFR, 2001 Best Cash Management Bank in Asia, Best Global Custodian in Asia Pacific – Asiamoney, 2001 § § 13