Citi has enlisted the services of Microsoft for the development of its new online corporate banking service, which was launched at the annual Sibos event in Hong Kong.
The CitiDirect BE platform will be based on Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server 2007 and will serve the bank's corporate and public sector clients. It will also be available as a white labelled service for Citi's banking customers.
Following its launch, Citi plans to phase in a series of subsequent releases over the next 18 to 24 months that will feature an array of Microsoft services and applications.
According to Citi, the service will aim to provide more than the usual transaction capabilities, including access to its Electronic Bank Account Management (eBAM) self-service module and various media to report on economic news.
It will also be based on service-oriented architecture (SoA) and open standards as Citi looks to capitalise on the growing demand among mid-sized banks for white-labelled corporate banking services as they look to minimise their development and infrastructure costs.
"Mid-tier banks can extend their wholesale banking set, allowing them to offer sophisticated transaction services through an experienced third party while minimizing implementation risk and capital outlays," says Jim Eckenrode, research executive for Banking at US-based analyst TowerGroup. "For the larger banks, offering white-label products creates revenue opportunities while spreading the cost of providing the product across a wider client base."
Says Gary Greenwald, chief innovation officer and global head of capabilities and information products at Citi: "Our institutional clients are demanding banking platforms and technology that gives them greater transparency and control over their working capital flows, increases their liquidity and improves the efficiency of their treasury and supply chain processes."