Citibank unveiled a significant upgrade this week to its Direct Access Internet banking service, which will dramatically expand the bank’s reach into homes across the United States. Specifically, Citibank’s Direct Access service is now available to the millions of Americans who use America Online and Microsoft Internet Explorer to access the Internet; the service also features a new “reduced graphics option” to speed transaction time for customers.
As part of its commitment to introduce more consumers to the benefits of Internet banking, Citibank will launch a massive nationwide marketing campaign for Direct Access beginning in New York City on June 17. For a limited time, the bank will offer $25 cash to every new customer who uses the new Direct Access to complete at least two bill payment transactions by September 30, 1998.(1)
“Citibank is now able to deliver secure Internet banking,” said Stephen J. Liguori, Citibank’s Head of U.S. Branch Banking. “There are 26 million households on the Internet, and I want a million of them to be Direct Access customers by year-end. I’m confident this latest upgrade and expanded accessibility will get us there. We’re planning to win these new customers from our competition – consider it a challenge to the rest of the banking industry.”
Revolutionizing the Way Americans Bank
Recent improvements in online banking services, combined with consumers’ growing familiarity with computer technology, have slowly begun to change the way Americans are conducting their banking, with recent trends showing that online banking is gaining in popularity. According to a recent report by Jupiter Communications, the number of American households using online banking jumped 78 percent in 1997, to 4.8 million, and that number is expected to reach 18 million households by the year 2002.
“For years Citibank has been at the leading edge in creating and delivering the kinds of electronic banking services that truly improve peoples lives,” continued Mr. Liguori. “For example, ATMs didn’t catch on with the public until Citibank introduced a machine here in New York that was actually consumer-friendly and safe. Getting people to bank online and over the Internet is just the latest frontier. Now with this newest version of Direct Access, we’ve arrived at a point where our customers can manage their personal finances anywhere, anyway and anytime they want to.”
Citibank has offered online banking services to its customers in the U.S. for more than 15 years, but only recently began offering Internet banking. Customers can use the Web to quickly and conveniently access their bank accounts, pay bills to virtually anyone in the U.S., transfer funds and place orders to buy and sell securities through Citicorp Investment Services(2). The bank’s Internet service was initially available only through Netscape’s Navigator Web browser.
Citibank Named No. 1 Online Banking Service in Recent Survey
This month, SmartMoney magazine(3) named Citibank “the best online bank” in the country, placing it above Chase Manhattan, Bank of America, BankBoston, Wells Fargo and First Union, among others. In ranking Citibank first among 15 of the nation’s top consumer banks, SmartMoney credited Direct Access for being the best in terms of security, pricing, level of service and access to account information. This is the second straight time SmartMoney has rated Citibank number one for online banking.
Citibank Blue Team Distributes Direct Access Starter Kits Nationwide
To launch the latest version of Direct Access, celebrate the SmartMoney award, and reintroduce the concept of simple, safe and secure online banking to millions of potential new customers across the U.S., Citibank is planning a major, nationwide customer sign-up campaign. New customers will be encouraged to use Direct Access directly through Citibank’s Web site, at .
Additionally, for those customers not yet on the Internet, the bank will distribute 250,000 Direct Access Starter Kits, with Web browser software, in its major retail markets around the country.
In New York for example, 100 members of a special Citibank “Blue Team” will gather at the bank’s headquarters on the morning of June 17 for a massive pep rally. After receiving their assignments, the Blue Team will hit the streets of Manhattan en masse and on bicycles, with a goal of distributing 40,000 Direct Access Starter Kits, to show once and for all that Citibank offers customers the best features and value available in Internet banking. After the event concludes, Citibank will donate all Blue Team bicycles to the city’s Police Athletic League.
Each Direct Access Starter Kit will include a CD-ROM with Netscape’s Navigator Web browser software, start-up directions for using Citibank online banking, a $25 cash-back offer, plus a selection of Elton John music tracks and video clips, including the classic hit songs Bennie and the Jets, Crocodile Rock and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Citibank is sponsoring the 1998 Elton John World Tour, and Elton John is appearing in a number of television ads for the bank.
Still Setting the Standard for Providing Secure Online Financial Services
Citibank offers the only free Internet banking service available today that lets customers perform banking transactions, pay bills, obtain stock quotes and other financial information through Citibank, and, for customers of Citicorp Investment Services, place orders to buy and sell stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In addition, Citibank customers can use online banking to begin the process of applying for a checking or savings account.
Citibank continues to provide a complete range of standard online banking services as well, like the ability to view account information in real time, transfer funds between linked accounts and send/receive electronic messages with customer service staff. It also allows customers to coordinate multiple accounts, including Citibank checking and savings accounts and mortgages, Citibank credit card accounts, and Citicorp Investment Services brokerage accounts.
In terms of online security, Citibank uses 128-bit encryption, the highest level of security readily available, to help protect customer information. Citibank’s Direct Access online banking service is available at no extra charge to customers living anywhere in the United States. Customers can learn more by visiting Citibank’s web site, at . The CD-ROM starter kits, including the Elton John music and video clips, can also be ordered free by calling 1-800-374-9700.
Citibank is a subsidiary of Citicorp, a global financial services organization serving consumers, businesses, governments and financial institutions through more than 3,000 locations in 100 countries and territories.
(1) Certain restrictions apply.
(2) Securities transactions are through Citicorp Investment Services, member NASD/SIPC, and a subsidiary of Citibank. Investment products are not obligations of or guaranteed by Citibank or Citicorp Investment Services, are not bank deposits or FDIC Insured and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.
(3) SmartMoney magazine is a joint venture of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and Hearst Communications, Inc.Details