Tapodyuti Bose, global head of channel & enterprise services for Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, spoke to Global Finance about the bank’s digital initiatives around the world.
Global Finance: Citi won in many countries, regions and categories. How does Citi foster digital innovation?
Tapodyuti Bose: What we see from these awards is that we’ve been thinking about digital banking along the right lines. Whether it’s using new technologies or enhancing products, we always think about our feature functionality, and how to package it, from the client perspective. We ask, “How will this make them more efficient?” The technology is exciting and innovative, but we never lose sight of the fact that it has to work for the client.
GF: What digital frontiers are you are anticipating now? How is Citi preparing?
Bose: One is application programming interfaces. API is established in the consumer space, with all the apps we use on our mobile phones. Now we see this opening up in the corporate space. Over the last six months we have started to offer many of our services, from execution of payments to getting balances, etc., through API.
The second is blockchain. We recently announced a blockchain collaboration with Nasdaq, in which they are connecting their payment platform into our entire payment system, using blockchain API. We also see blockchain experiments happening in the trade finance space. It is a space for us to watch, and one in which we continue to experiment. We also see artificial intelligence coming in, because now that you have big data, you have the ability to run AI and machine learning on the data. That’s another very key trend.
I would add that more and more, digitization is not just in the consumer space or the corporate banking space, but also in the public sector and central banking. In about 17 or 18 countries, we have the ability to receive documents digitally for a legal record. In geographies where the local laws permit us to do that, we are already there. In geographies where we have the technical capability but the law hasn’t caught up yet, we continue to work with the authorities.
GF: Corporates have sometimes been slow to pick up on digital opportunities. Is that changing, and if so, how?
Bose: If you look at the evolution of the client treasury, there has been a push toward centralization, and the treasury space has benefited over the last eight to 10 years in terms of expense improvement. Now what they’re beginning to realize is that treasuries should look at digitization not as something that is cool, but as something which is absolutely necessary, when you are trying to handle 60 different treasury departments out of one center. And as we look to digital, cybersecurity is another very important theme. We are investing very heavily in this.