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Citibank to strengthen digital banking

Citibank Korea said Wednesday that its pillar strategies for the second half of the year are to further tighten up its signature wealth management business and focus investment into digital and mobile banking.

It also dismissed rumors that it is preparing to withdraw from the Korean market.

“We believe that we have a strength in wealth management, so decided to focus more on the affluent customer sector,” Brendan Carney, consumer business head and vice president at Citibank Korea, told reporters in a news conference.

Brendan Carney, consumer business head and vice president at Citibank Korea.
Brendan Carney, consumer business head and vice president at Citibank Korea.

The bank is currently working on reclassifying its customers into four groups according to their total assets and investment tendencies, he explained.

The top tier is the Citigold Private Client -- customers with more than $1 million in assets -- followed by Citigold, Citi Priority, and Citibanking groups.

But the banker underlined that the segment system is not about favoring the rich and neglecting the rest.

“Our goal is to figure out the swiftly changing demands of our customers and provide precisely what they want, so as to become a trusted financial advisor,” he said.

Another impending task for the bank is to redefine the role of its branches.

“The year of branches is not ending, it is already over,” Carney said.

“Those who take the time and effort to visit bank branches would seek value-added services, such as detailed investment portfolio consulting.”

This is why Citibank is spurring to break down its branches according to the range of functions -- standard branch, compact branch, mini office, flagship office and so on.

Among them is a comprehensive banking hub, which will open in Banpo in November, according to officials.

This new-generation office will allow visitors to choose their financial product at a glance, just like in retail shopping, or to consult an asset manager.

“Banking is no longer about operating branches, but about responding to customers’ financial needs in every way possible,” Carney claimed.

The U.S.-based bank achieved 372 billion won in profits and 86 billion won in net profit in the second quarter, up 8 percent and 108 percent respectively from the same period last year. It also reduced the level of customer complaints by 38 percent during the given period.

Park Jin-hei, CEO of Citibank Korea.
Park Jin-hei, CEO of Citibank Korea.

“During the first half of the year, we have accomplished a number of key financial goals,” said CEO Park Jin-hei.

“Based on such results, we will now focus on building our fundamentals, which indicates that we have no plans to quit business here in Korea.”

By Bae Hyun-jung  (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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