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Citi’s Chief Digital Officer Says About Significance of Mobile and Virtual Platforms

Michael Naggar, Citi’s director of digital technologies in the area of personal banking services in the United States, during a conversation with media representatives, shared his opinion on what it means to implement the digitalization process in the banking sector.

Citi’s Chief Digital Officer Says About Significance of Mobile and Virtual Platforms

Currently, the amount of data that consumers generate daily is testing the constraints of the dictionary. Ten years ago, the corresponding figure was measured in terabytes, which is equivalent to several trillion bytes. After this period, which is not too long on a historical scale, the amount of data generated by users began to be measured at 329 million terabytes. It is worth noting that the mentioned indicator is recorded daily. Against the background of the corresponding realities, data scientists began to use the term Zettabyte Era. It is worth noting that the amount of data generated by users is a dynamic indicator, which means that it is constantly changing upwards. It should be clarified that one zettabyte is equivalent to one sextillion byte – one, followed by 21 zeros. Currently, the opinion is fixed in the expert environment that in 2025 a total of 181 zettabytes of data will be generated.

For companies and organizations operating in the financial services industry, managing the mentioned arrays of information is a very difficult task. It is worth noting that in some cases, firms with limited resources face the inability to solve the mentioned problem. Currently, 27% of all global companies have either senior executives specializing in data processing, either as chief data officers or chief digital officers. One of the leaders of the relevant sector of activity is Michael Naggar, Citi’s chief digital officer in the sphere of personal banking services in the United States. He is one of the chief executives responsible for implementing the digital transformation process of the mentioned financial institution.

Citi CEO Jane Fraser, in the bank’s earnings report for the first quarter of the current year, noted that the number of active mobile users as of the beginning of 2024 amounted to 19 million people. She also stated that the corresponding figure of digital users exceeded the mark of 25 million people.

For Michael Naggar, the financial institution’s digital transformation strategy was marked by connections. In this case, it means connecting data to virtual interaction with clients. Also, as part of the relevant process, data was connected to the rest of Citi’s C-Suite and the development of digital products. Michael Naggar says that currently, about 85% of financial institution’s products and services have a virtual version. Nowadays, he is focused on continuing the migration to mobile and digital platforms. According to him, in such formats of interaction with a financial institution, customers receive a higher level of satisfaction. He also stated that in this case, a stronger consumer relationship with Citi is being formed.

During a conversation with media representatives, Michael Naggar stated that he likes to look within the industry to see where the customer will be and what competitors are doing. The head of Citi’s digital transformation also monitors the processes taking place in areas such as retail, the airline industry, and healthcare. Separately, he noted that he likes to watch how users adopt new technologies and how similar experiences can be applied in the banking sector. Michael Naggar compares the data obtained during these observations with internal information about consumer actions on platforms included in the Citi digital ecosystem. According to him, over the past two or three years, the financial institution has paid a lot of attention to its data. The bank’s corresponding efforts are aimed at understanding what customers are doing in the framework of interaction with the lender and will offer them new functional solutions before they form an awareness of their respective needs.

Over the past six months, Citi has introduced many new apps and products. Michael Naggar says that at the initial stage of the relevant activity, the financial institution rebuilt its Android mobile platform. The result of these efforts was an increase in the level of satisfaction with the experience of interaction with the bank among users. The lender then focused on creating seamless, end-to-end mobile apps. In the context of commenting on these efforts, Michael Naggar noted that a notable feature codenamed Wayfinder has been developed. As part of this app solution, various customer tasks are combined into a continuous journey. For example, if a consumer locks a lost card through a virtual platform, the algorithm makes it easier to perform actions such as disputing charges or replacing a means of payment.

Citi also uses Apple’s digital Clip product to acquire credit cards. In this case, users can apply for a card and use a means of payment without fully downloading the app. Also, as part of this solution, consumers are given access to the possibility of instant spending. At the same time, users are prompted to download the full app for ongoing account management.

Moreover, Citi has introduced QR codes. This solution is designed to simplify the process of logging in and shift toward a passwordless system. In this case, mobile biometric authentication is supported. The corresponding solution addresses user complaints about password reset and increases the level of security.

Michael Naggar stated that he considers the interaction of a financial institution with customers in the sphere of digital technologies in three different ways. In this context, one of the important aspects of the lender’s efforts is tying together banking services. Users receive information about the algorithm of daily actions aimed at managing their account and credit card spending. A financial institution should tie the appropriate methodology to what people are constantly doing. Michael Naggar notes that users regularly spend money. A significant part of consumers need to pay bills. Some clients have a financial obligation in the form of paying salaries to employees. The lender has built a lot of capabilities with which to combine banking activities with shopping practices and other aspects of users’ financial operations.

Michael Naggar’s second way is that he brings data. At this level, he and his team know how to tie services to what Citi characterizes as life moments. The mentioned wording implies the daily activity of users related to their financial operations.

Michael Naggar’s third way implies the connection between the analog and digital worlds. According to him, the physical world and the behavior by which consumers navigate in this space have a lot in common with the virtual dimension. Michael Naggar says that many people interpret digital interaction as the moving of everything to virtual technologies. According to him, in this case, the tying of the analog space to the digital one is really carried out. He also noted the importance of understanding what is happening in the analog world to better meet the financial needs of consumers in the virtual dimension. According to him, after data on actions in physical and virtual spaces is organized, an idea is formed about trends and opportunities that can be built for clients even before they demand it.

Michael Naggar is also navigating the crossroads of financial services and artificial intelligence. He pays strategic attention to the use of AI to predict and improve information about customer behavior and services provided.

Initially, the financial institution focused on integrating and synthesizing internal and external data sources to create a comprehensive view of those consumers who interact with Citi. As part of this approach, the bank is developing capabilities based on artificial intelligence. These features are aimed at providing personalized services to customers. For example, when a customer buys an airline ticket, the AI allows Citi to automatically send travel notifications and tailored financial offers, including installment loans corresponding to the destination.

Michael Naggar, during his conversation with media representatives, also noted that the bank is carefully exploring generative artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning techniques. According to him, these technologies will improve the interaction of the lender with customers using automated services and chatbots.

Michael Naggar is enthusiastic about the potential of artificial intelligence as a tool to transform the banking experience and improve operational productivity. He described Citi’s approach to AI as prudent, noting that in this case, the lender prioritizes customer security and data protection.

As we have reported earlier, Citi and LuminArx Introduce Financing Tool for Private Lending Market.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.