CITIBANK, N.A. Philippine Branch (Citi Philippines) is optimistic about the growth of its digital banking platform in the country amid issues on connectivity and usage.
In a press conference Tuesday, Citi Philippines Consumer Banking Head Manoj Varma said the global lender has been making investments and new product features to satisfy the digital needs of its clients.
“Digital and mobile banking [are] core to our growth strategy, not just in the Philippines but globally. We’ve been making investments and new product features and functionality,” Mr. Varma said.
In a statement, Citi Philippines said its customer banking business has focused on digital transformation, continuously enhancing capabilities to make customer experience over its digital channels seamless.
The lender has launched its updated Citi Mobile App which helps its clients manage outstanding balances, track transaction details and rewards points, as well as pay bills.
“The Citi Mobile App will deliver a simple, fast and personalized experience to our valued card customers,” Citi Philippines Chief Executive Officer Aftab Ahmed was quoted as saying in the statement.
Amid its massive adoption of digital technology, Mr. Varma noted the challenges in the country’s Internet infrastructure.
“Some people would argue that there are some inherent challenges in the infrastructure with the speed of internet, the availability of LTE or the cost of data,” he said. “[It] is still a long way where it needs to be compared with some of the other Asian markets.”
Aside from this, Mr. Varma noted that only 14% of Filipinos use their smartphones to do digital banking, citing a study from McKinsey and Co.
“That is an opportunity because we would like to bring forth new customer experience and functionality where customers can take advantage of,” Mr. Varma added.
Despite the “low” usage of digital banking channels among Filipinos, Citi Philippines said its clients are now shifting to electronic means to do banking as two-thirds of its customers no longer go to branches and more than 60% are already enrolled digitally.
“We have an option of building more branches, which was how people used to transact. [However,] we [opted to] put our money in [going] digital because that’s where the future is. That’s where we think more and more customers will like to go,” Citi Philippines’ consumer banking head said.
Going digital, according to Mr. Varma, must work in tandem with ensuring the security of its clients’ data.
“The cyber thieves are getting more advanced. We obviously try to stay ahead of them,” he said. “We are obsessed about the security of our customers. We make sure that we deploy the latest security that we can [that adheres to] global security standards for our customers to protect their information.”
Mr. Varma explained that the Citi Mobile App is equipped with biometric authentication such as face and fingerprint recognition. Aside from this, the Citi Mobile Token instantly generates a one-time personal identification number that authorizes online banking transactions. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal