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Eight Inc. for Citi

Fast Company

An Exclusive Peek Inside Citi's Banks of the Future

Inside the financial giant's lab, where it's engineering the bank of the future -- to be more like a convenience store

In a retail space, there are three ways to turn customers on: attraction (enticing decor), engagement ("stay awhile" perks), and connection (the hard sell). "The problem with banks," says Chris Kay, a former Target exec who's now managing director of growth ventures at Citi, "is that they're skipping the first two and moving straight to the third." By focusing on the foreplay -- excuse us, "user experience" -- Citi's innovation lab has developed multifunctional ATMs and interactive store displays that seek to attract younger, more tech-savvy customers and transform banks into a destination. Although most of the technology won't be available stateside until later this year (it's being market-tested in Asia), Citi offered us an exclusive peek at what's to come.

1. Tabletop Kiosks

Anyone, including non-Citi customers, can use Money Touch to learn area real-estate trends or access travel deals. "We want to make banking relevant to people's neighborhoods," says Jeff Semenchuk, Citi's head of growth ventures.

2. Media Wall

The two-sided Media Wall will stream local news, weather, and event listings to attract passersby outside. In the bank, it will create "a sense of theater," Kay says, by projecting widgets and video feeds that customers can tap to engage.

3. Smart ATMs

Beyond letting users customize their welcome screen, Citi's dual-screen ATMs will learn their tendencies so they can offer a regular withdrawal amount and recommend services. "We're reengineering the ATM to be more than a dumb cash terminal," Kay says.

4. Sales Wall

For investments or major purchases such as a new home, the Sales Wall teaches customers about their options, allowing them to have a more informed conversation with a live service rep once they reach a decision and are ready to enter sensitive data.

Phone-Powered Payments

Citi's "digital wallet" lets users pay for everything from sneakers to subway rides by tapping their phones on a console. The wallet uses near-field communications (NFC) chips -- think Speedpass -- and was recently tested in Bangalore, where Citi partnered with Nokia, Vodafone, MasterCard, and Vivotech (makers of the tap-to-pay consoles) to launch a 5,000-person, 500-merchant pilot program. Citi hasn't scheduled a U.S. launch yet.

Eight Inc. for Citi

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2 Comments

  • RW Saunders

    Brand Partners died on the vine a few months ago. Does anyone have a better link related to this design/technology? Thanks

  • Emily Schwartz

    Citi's immovation lab is really moving in the right direction by focusing on technology to turn their branches into destinations. That's going to have a huge pull for their Millenial audience and will serve them well going forward. The overall key to a banks success, however, is to view the environment holistically. Technology will play a big part in the branch of the future and will be key in attracting and retaining a younger client base, but there are also 80 million Gen-Xers to consider. They have a different set of needs entirely. It ultimately comes down really understanding your client base and thoughtfull considering their needs and designing an environment that reflects that. I don't think the answer is more big branches, either. Given the economic shakeup and the basic shifts in the nature of banking, I think it's entirely possible to deliver a highly profitable, full-service branch in less than 1500 SF.

    More thoughts on this can be found here: http://www.brandpartners.com/e...