Citigroup, the conglomerate that includes Citibank, Salomon Smith Barney and Travelers Insurance, is looking to provide one-stop shopping for the entire range of financial services its disparate business units offer.
The Internet will play a key role in fulfilling chairman and CEO Sanford Weill's goal of building a tightly integrated supermarket of financial services, letting customers access Citigroup's products and services anywhere on any device at any time. Toward that end, Citigroup is working to build a payment engine that can be used for both consumer and B2B services.
"Our mandate is to bring together all different types of payment capabilities in one place for the consumer," said Anthony Jenkins, COO of Citigroup's Internet payment services.
As a result, Citibank, with help from America Online, has enabled consumers to make person-to-person payments and transfer money between different accounts. This year, Citibank plans to add more online capabilities through AOL and its own Internet banking services, including Accounts Online and Direct Access/CitiDirect, which is now used by 1.1 million consumers in 22 countries. By year's end, the bank will expand that presence to 30 countries.
For its corporate customers, Citigroup is moving to provide Internet-based transaction services as well as to become the financial services engine that powers B2B exchanges. Efforts in that arena include Citibank Procurement Connection, a portal to facilitate trading among buyers and sellers. Other transaction-processing efforts include CrossMar, an automated platform for cross-border trades.
Citigroup's foreign exchange business is in the process of building a B2B service to help clients integrate foreign exchange functions into their treasury environments. Citibank will also provide bill presentment and payment services via the Internet to corporate clients.