Citi’s Global Consumer Bank (GCB), a global digital banking leader in credit cards, wealth management and commercial banking, serves more than 110 million clients in 19 countries.
With a strategic focus in the U.S., Mexico and Asia, the Global Consumer Bank’s segment-driven, client-led growth strategy continues to deliver solid results.
In 2018, the Global Consumer Bank strengthened its client-centric model, rapidly accelerated its digital transformation, gained momentum resolving legacy regulatory issues and continued to pace strategic investments in key growth areas.
GCB strengthened its client-centric model with a reorganization that created a regional structure in the U.S., similar to our franchises in Asia and Mexico, and brought together product leadership globally to unify strategy across products, segments and investments. In doing so, we are bringing together the full power of our franchise across Citi-branded products and client segments in the U.S., our largest market and opportunity, and driving greater value for clients and synergies across the franchise.
In digital, GCB’s mobile user base grew rapidly, up 26 percent globally. Industry-leading capabilities, redesigned mobile experiences and market-first partnerships with leading digital and social platforms drove greater engagement, higher client satisfaction and new sources of growth. In the U.S., Citi announced its strategic intent to serve retail clients nationwide. In Mexico, our redesigned mobile app is driving double-digit user growth and the highest app store ratings in our history, while Asia continues to lead on digital partnerships and ecosystems. With a mobile-first strategic focus, we are proud to have been recognized by Global Finance magazine with two global awards: Best Consumer Mobile Bank and World’s Best Digital Bank.
Critically, Citi continued to improve its overall control environment by introducing new digital monitoring and reporting capabilities; simplifying, streamlining and standardizing its processes and procedures; resolving several legacy issues; and driving accountability across the organization.
Across GCB, we continued to execute on investments in key growth areas—U.S. Cards, Mexico and technology. Strategic multi-year investments in new partners and products, network enhancements as well as machine learning capabilities, and new data approaches are starting to bear fruit, driving a superior experience for clients and value for Citi shareholders.
GCB operates 2,410 branches and generated $7.6 billion in pretax earnings. In 2018, the business held $307 billion in average deposits, had $423 billion in average assets and included $306 billion in average loans.
Citi Branded Cards
Citi Branded Cards provides payment and credit solutions to consumers and small businesses, with 55 million accounts globally. In 2018, Branded Cards generated annual purchase sales of $448 billion and had an average loan portfolio of $112 billion.
In the U.S., Citi continued to drive balance throughout its portfolio across proprietary and co-brand products and enhance its product offerings. We introduced the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUpSM Card, a new no-annual-fee credit card that turns everyday spending into exciting travel experiences for customers. In addition, Citi and American Airlines introduced enhanced benefits on the Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® and the CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. As a result of customer feedback and usage, Citi also announced that it would be launching a new generation of benefits in early 2019 to ensure that the Citi Prestige® card, Citi’s premium rewards travel credit card, continues to reflect customers’ evolving needs and delivers in the areas they value most.
Internationally, Citi launched a redesigned mobile app and introduced enhanced mobile features in Asia Pacific, including mobile lending on Cards, a first for Citi globally. With mobile lending, clients can, for example, convert purchases into installment payments directly on the app. We also made further progress on our partnership, data and open banking/API strategy in the region. Citi was the first to launch full-fledged API partnerships in Hong Kong, introducing a total of nine such partnerships in the year. Using APIs, we launched a pilot with our regional Bancassurance partner AIA in Malaysia, enabling secure real-time connectivity between Citi and AIA’s platforms. We also launched several digital partnerships, including a partnership with Spotify allowing Citi customers in Asia to Pay with Points for their Spotify subscription.
Citi’s award-winning entertainment access program Citi® Private Pass®, and its live music platform Citi Sound Vault®, continued to provide exclusive access to extraordinary music experiences. In 2018, Citi continued its partnership with Live Nation and offered access to more than 12,000 events with many of the world’s biggest artists globally.
Citi Retail Services is one of North America’s largest providers of private label and co-brand credit cards for retailers, serving 86 million accounts for iconic brands, including Best Buy, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Sears, Shell and The Home Depot. In 2018, Citi Retail Services strengthened its portfolio of leading brands with new partner agreements, strategic renewals and new, industry-leading products.
Citi Retail Services signed agreements with preeminent American retailer L.L.Bean and Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, a leading provider of financing solutions to Cat® dealers and customers for Cat machinery and engines, Solar® gas turbines and other equipment, and marine vessels. Citi Retail Services also renewed its nearly two-decade partnership with Shell, launching new Shell Fuel Rewards credit cards, and signed an agreement with Sears, another long-standing partner, which secured Citi’s rights to certain portfolio assets.
In 2018, Citi Retail Services saw purchase sales of $87 billion, and a loan portfolio ending the year at $53 billion.
With a high-touch, segment-driven relationship model that serves clients across the full spectrum of consumer banking needs, Citibank serves as a trusted advisor to its retail, small business and wealth management clients at every stage of their financial journey.
In the U.S., Citi’s retail bank transformation made significant progress. With its new client-centric model in the U.S., Citi is focused on expanding our relationship banking model, leveraging the strength of our brand, the national scale and quality of our credit card franchise and our leading wealth management capabilities to deepen and acquire client relationships.
Citi continued to provide a range of products, services and leading digital capabilities to its individual, small business and wealth management clients. The Access Account, a checkless bank account with no or low monthly fees, no overdraft fees, ability to link to a savings account, and access to Citi’s digital, retail and ATM channels, is one of Citibank’s fastest-growing products. In addition to convenience and simplicity, the account is a unique offering that allows customers to waive a monthly service fee in one of three easy ways, providing customers greater control over their finances. Introduced in 2014, the account addresses the needs of a range of customers, particularly first-time and younger consumers, as well as often overlooked portions of the U.S. market, including low-income individuals, senior citizens and immigrants, by reducing the risks of overdrawn accounts and coinciding fees.
Across the U.S., Citi continued to finance the growth of small businesses, through retail bank and small business credit card lending, as well as supply chain financing through its institutional bank. In 2018, Citi invested more than $11.6 billion in small business lending in the U.S. and also financed over $6 billion in affordable housing projects.
Through its Citigold®, Citigold Private Client and Citi Priority client offerings, Citi provides institutional grade, personalized wealth management services, including dedicated bankers, fund access and a range of exclusive privileges, preferred pricing and benefits to clients around the globe.
Over the past two years, Citi has intensified its focus on enhancing our Citigold wealth management offering and deepening relationships with its existing wealth management clients in the six priority markets where it has a physical presence, leveraging our success in Asia. In 2018, growth in Citigold households increased more than 18 percent year-over-year, and Citi continued to enhance its network of Citigold Wealth Centers, opening its first in San Francisco.
We continue to introduce new digital capabilities, enabling our customers to bank anytime, anywhere, on their channel of choice, which is increasingly mobile. In the U.S., we rolled out a set of enhanced capabilities in our mobile app on iOS, including the ability for customers to view and analyze their full financial position across Citi and other banks and, in an industry first, opened the app to non-Citi customers to use as well. We also rolled out an enhanced account opening and deposit capture capability through mobile channels on iOS.
In Mortgage, Citi continued to simplify its operations, continuing its exit from direct servicing and intensifying its focus on originations. In 2018, Citi signed dual agreements to integrate its full suite of U.S. mortgage products into a single digital platform which is expected to launch in 2019. CitiMortgage, which provides loans for home purchase and refinance transactions in the U.S., originated $9.9 billion in new loans in 2018.
In Asia, where Citi is a pan-regional leader in wealth management, Citi continued to enhance the client experience. Following its successful launch in India, Citi expanded Virtual Remote Engagement, an in-app audio, chat and video banking platform with an option for screen sharing for portfolio reviews and discussions that enables wealth management customers to converse with their Relationship Managers, to Hong Kong and Singapore. The service is set to be introduced to a total of 15 markets. The bank also unveiled a revitalized Citigold proposition in China, offering a range of preferred benefits as well as international banking and personalized services.
In Mexico, where Citi is one of the country’s premier financial institutions with top brand recognition and a vast retail banking network, Citi continues to invest in technology, modernize its branch and ATM network, and digitize its products and client base. Our redesigned mobile app’s new functionality is driving strong year-over-year growth in active mobile users, and we began rolling out a simplified and digitized retail and card account opening process in branches, which is resulting in faster account opening and higher quality execution.
Through two strategic distribution agreements, Citibanamex continued to expand access to best-in-class products and offerings for its clients. In an agreement with Chubb Seguros Mexico, an affiliate of Chubb Limited, Citibanamex clients will have access to a broad range of non-life insurance products, including property and casualty coverage for auto, home, individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises, accident and health insurance products, as well as commercial property and casualty coverage for larger businesses. Through a distribution agreement with BlackRock, Citibanamex will offer BlackRock’s investment funds to its 21 million banking clients, backed by BlackRock’s world-class investment and risk management platforms.