Citi: Digital account opening for new business clients

  • By Elizabeth Fry

Citi Commercial Bank which serves mid to large-cap corporate clients with revenues of up to US$1 billion annually, has introduced digital account opening for new clients in Australia, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore.  

Through its new Commercial Bank portal, called Gateway the lender has opened over 750 accounts digitally for new-to-bank clients in these markets. 

Gateway has helped solve a key pain point for Australian companies who had international aspirations but were frustrated at needing to use multiple accounts with many different banks, Citi said.  

With the portal, clients can initiate loan requests and complete credit inquiry forms through the portal which will also push real-time status updates throughout the loan fulfillment process.  

It will also serve as a platform through which clients can upload and supply information to Citi and periodically review their existing positions with the bank. 

Through Gateway and an existing platform in Asia, close to 70 percent of the commercial bank’s total account opening volumes in the region are now achieved through digital channels. Accounts can be opened digitally in as quickly as three days. 

Alex Syhanath, who heads up Citi’s commercial operation in Australia, says the new functionality will improve the client’s experience and support the growth of the Australian business. 

“Since establishing the Commercial Bank in Australia in 2019, we have seen an increase in demand from high-growth local companies with international aspirations, frustrated at needing to use different platforms and providers for each new market. Citi has been able to solve for that.” 

“Citi’s new Gateway platform is a welcome innovation. Our global banking solutions are now matched with a digital onboarding platform that is user-friendly and efficient.” 

Gateway will be further built out to support lending and portfolio management services, he said. 

According to Rajat Madhok who runs Citi Commercial Bank Asia Pacific, digitisation is high on the agenda for emerging corporates particularly on the back of the ongoing pandemic as they look to operate with greater agility and speed.  

“Through Commercial Bank, Gateway, and multiple digital initiatives, we can support our clients’ operational needs as they adapt their businesses to new and digital ways of operating.” 

AI credit underwriting tool 

 Last year, Citi Commercial Bank piloted an AI-enabled credit underwriting tool, AI. Sight, to support credit processes and review.  

The tool, which has shortened the lender’s credit review and approval process, enables the business to prioritise yet streamline due diligence efforts while mitigating new credit portfolio risks that have emerged out of the pandemic.  

Using optical character recognition and machine learning models, the tool auto-scans credit documents, including bank statements, and can flag irregularities and abnormal loan use.  Based on the data, it can identify trends and compute relevant metrics required to make credit approval decisions. 

Since it was first piloted in Hong Kong, AI. Sight has been launched in India and with plans for China next, said Citi.