The big picture: Online businesses have reduced overheads compared to brick-and-mortar stores. Citigroup is aiming to launch a new app to continue its cost cutting strategy and hopes that more deposits can be found by going to a "mobile first" approach.
Citigroup is the third largest bank in the United States and holds four percent of US deposits. However, the company has a significant problem that it is trying to overcome: They do not have enough money deposited to be able to lend out more.
Being a little short on deposits is certainly not the only problem, though. Citigroup is struggling to attract new customers due to a lack of modern online banking tools. To change this, Citigroup will be launching a new app during the third quarter. Company executives are hoping that an improved app can help bring in the much needed new deposits.
While it is possible that an app can bring in more customers, Citigroup's refusal to raise interest rates on deposits and lack of interest in competing with the rates of other banks still leaves some head scratching. David Chubak, head of global retail banking and mortgage says, "People are willing to switch to a bank that is able to provide this kind of mobile-first experience."
Continued efforts to reduce operating costs have been on going at Citigroup for nearly ten years now. Switching to more reliance on online systems instead of local branches to garner the attention of consumers can certainly help in this regard. After all, there are numerous banking services that operate online without any local branches at all and can offer significantly better rates to attract customers.
By comparison, Citigroup only has 700 branches throughout the US. Bank of America has approximately 4,400 branches and JPMorgan has nearly 5,100 physical locations.
However, one of the major selling points of exclusively online banking is the better interest rates and often eliminated account fees. Since Citigroup has little intent to compete on rates, their new app had better be one impressive piece of software if their future valuations are to be dependent on it.