December 17, 2010

Citi opened a glamorous, high-tech branch in New York City's Union Square last night. The 9,700 square foot branch was designed by Eight, Inc., designers of the Apple stores, and has the "branch of the future" look made popular by Umpqua Bank and more recently Royal Bank of Canada, with large flat-screen displays and community spaces that encourage customers to sit and relax. It uses envelope-free ATMs pioneered by Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

Citi put together a video about the construction and opening of its new branch:

The new branch at 14th Street and Broadway features six interactive sales walls; image ATMs; free online access and Wi-Fi for customers; 24/7 access from the ATM lobby, to customer service experts via videoconferencing; and a private seating lounge for customers of Citigold, Citi's premium banking service.

Citi plans to follow this launch with branches in other key U.S. markets that will emulate the Union Square experience.

"For nearly 200 years, we have been proud to call New York City home," said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. "Citi opened its first branch in Manhattan in 1812 at 55 Wall Street, and today, we are excited to add to that history with our first U.S. flagship branch in Union Square. This branch exemplifies Citi's priority focus around the world on being a truly cutting-edge, customer-focused bank leveraging the power of our global reach and breadth of expertise for our customers."

Manuel Medina-Mora, chief executive officer of Consumer Banking for the Americas said the new branch reflects a strategy to "invest in retail banking with a focus on customer-centric innovations and an eye towards growth in our key markets."

The bank partnered with architecture and strategic design firm Eight Inc. on its environmental and interface design and technology experience, and with Atmosphere Proximity, Citi's digital agency of record since 2006, on its digital messaging.

Beginning in early 2011, Citi will hold regular financial seminars on investing, buying a home, estate planning, retirement planning and more at the new branch.

Citi also announced that it's become a sponsor of a local neighborhood advocacy group, Union Square Partnership, and will support annual festivals and events such as Harvest in the Square and Summer in the Square.

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