New services for Citi's corporate customers

PHOTO: New services for Citi's corporate customers

Citibank's corporate customers here are now able to analyse high-level company financial data and authorise complex payments much faster.

The new services released on Thursday are aimed at making life easier for corporate treasurers, finance managers, chief executives and other senior officers.

They are part of the CitiDirect Banking Evolution product released in 2009.

One service lets customers authorise payments and check aggregated cash balances in different currencies and across countries on their smartphones.

Another analyses a customer's financial data to provide better management of account receivables and payables as well as payment flows across geographies.

This offering is only available on PCs and laptops.

Singapore customers are the first in the world to use the services, which will be free for the next six months, said Ms Anita Loh, the head for product management for Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, at a briefing on Thursday.

They will then be charged a fee but the bank has yet to decide on the amount.

The new services were developed by Citibank staff here and in the United States, Ireland and Poland at a cost of "tens of millions of dollars each year" over the past few years, according to Mr Melvyn Low, the head for Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions for ASEAN.

Ms Loh said discussions with customers unearthed several challenges relating to corporate banking.

Multinationals, for example, operate in many countries and in different currencies and need to access data easily to make decisions.

Travelling executives found it difficult to get information on historical payment flows and transactions.

Data was also captured and reported in different formats so without analytics, executives could not check for financial irregulatories.

The talks led to research on solutions and eventually to the release of the two services on Thursday with one more in the pipeline for next year.

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