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August 27, 2010updated 04 Apr 2017 4:16pm

M-banking head resigns but no signs of change at Citi

In the face of criticism and the reported resignation of the head of its mobile and online banking, US financial services group Citi has said there are no plans for change in its m-banking services.

By Louise Naughton

Citi has no plans to change its m-banking strategy – despite the resignation of Liza Landsman, its mobile and online banking head after just one year.

Landsman’s resignation is the latest in a line of technical and strategic flaws that have blighted Citi’s mobile services since its inception.

Citi declined to comment on Landman’s move but when asked by Cards International whether a new appointment would mean a strategy shift, a spokesperson advised that Citi’s mobile services will continue to operate in the same way.

Throughout Landsman’s leadership Citi has consistently fallen behind major players such as Bank of America (BofA) in terms of its m-banking users.

Richard Crone, an m-banking specialist and co-founder of e-payments consultancy firm, Crone Consulting, said it has been hurt by its earlier mistakes of treating mobile banking as a single isolated channel.

“Mobile banking is more than one channel, it’s 16 channels that require active cross-channel integration and management sponsorship from the CEO,” said Crone.

“Yet the bank is siloed and has separate channel management. This is the challenge that I think Liza was facing.”

Crone said every figure in charge of mobile banking faces these challenges today, but acknowledged these issues do seem to be more prevalent in Citi.

“[Citi] needs to stop looking at mobile banking as a separate entity like they did under Liza,” he said.

“It is not too late for Citi to get into the mobile payments game, providing it gets its act together within the next 12-18 months. It will then be in a position to fight the good fight to prevent the loss of the next wave of mobile banking customers,” Crone told CI.

The first indication that Citi’s m-banking was struggling came when CI’s sister publication RBI reported that the bank had only managed to attract 20,000 subscribers to its CitiMobile service in its first year. That was compared to BofA’s, which had one million m-banking users at the time.

An RBI survey, conducted in conjunction with Crone Consulting, showed Citi languishing in fifth place behind BofA, Wells Fargo and Wachovia.

It was only downhill from there. While BofA has recently announced that it has reached five million m-banking users, and currently sits second in Apple’s top ten finance app chart, Citi doesn’t feature at all.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal revealed a security flaw was found on Citi’s iPhone app, which saved personal account information in a hidden file on users’ handsets, impacting the security of around 117,600 of its customers.

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