Naveed Anwar, global head of Digital Treasury & Trade Solutions at Citi, shares his thoughts on the digital requirements of corporates.
Global Finance: Digital banking has greatly assisted businesses during the pandemic. How can digital banking help protect businesses from supply chain issues and rising inflation?
Naveed Anwar: Current supply chain issues are a result of the ongoing pandemic, and Citi has been actively helping our clients through these turbulent times. Providing the right tools and resources with enhanced levels of security for our clients is the best way to support and protect clients in any situation. In addition to the existing solutions that our clients already have access to, Citi continues to strengthen the client portfolio by adding new solutions to address the ongoing and evolving needs of our clients to help them stay productive, efficient and resilient. Some of the new solutions include a fully integrated digital onboarding package that’s available through a global network, along with self-service capabilities, financing to suppliers to address their working capital needs and biometrics for added security.
GF: What are the other most pressing problems facing corporates today and how can banks help to overcome them?
Anwar: The shift to how businesses operate has changed drastically. Through these unprecedented times, many businesses have limited or no access to resources they used to have in the pre-pandemic environment. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in how they can conduct their business and transact with banks globally. This further highlighted the need for digital solutions, which Citi has been providing to clients for several years.
Along with the move to digital, business models of companies are also evolving. Many of them are going to direct-to-consumer [models] and relying on their banks to provide real-time direct connectivity to their systems. This is where APIs [application programming interfaces] are a major differentiator for companies, evident by CitiConnect API’s flow growth rate of 163% year on year.
GF: How can digital financial solutions help corporate treasuries contribute to a company’s sustainability objectives?
Anwar: Citi has been extremely committed to meeting ESG goals. Per our CEO Jane Fraser, “We take great pride in how our strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and profile reflect on our firm.” Within corporate treasury, we have committed to an ongoing paperless environment by providing e-statements, electronic signatures and digital delivery of documents at a global scale, which is not only great for the environment, but also enables a more productive and cost-savings approach when working with our clients.
GF: What do you think will be the next key Treasury and Trade Solutions innovations?
Anwar: Innovation has always been at the core of everything that Citi does, from providing a full suite of digital banking solutions to our customers, which include biometrics, e-signature, digital documents, etc. As the landscape evolves, Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions continues to invest in innovative ways to address the needs of our clients. Some new areas in the horizon are banking-as-a-service to address digital currency needs, data-driven insights and a hyperpersonalized experience to better serve our clients’ current and future needs. We are excited and look forward to creating innovative solutions that will pave the road for future transformations while keeping the voice of our customers top of mind.