Citigroup looks to Ant Financial success as model in Google tie-up

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. looked to the success of Asian super-apps like Ant Financial and Paytm while developing its new checking-account offering with Google.

Citigroup spent years watching Asian consumers flock to outside apps for their payments and lending needs, and the bank now believes the same will happen for deposits, incoming Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said during an interview at the Singapore Fintech Festival that aired on Monday.

“We decided we’d better go on the attack and on the offensive on this rather than get too hooked for too long onto the old way of doing things,” Fraser said.

Citigroup has long partnered with Ant Financial and Paytm along with Singapore’s Grab to embed its services into these outside apps, Fraser said. Still, with Google, the bank focused on ensuring it was responsible for underwriting the account and held many conversations with the technology giant about data management.

“We’re very used to joining into an ecosystem,” Fraser said. “I think, importantly, with Google it is our own checking account.”

Separately, Citigroup is making a renewed push into wealth management in Asia, Fraser said, noting that she and Paco Ybarra, head of the firm’s institutional clients group, have spent years looking for ways to make sure private bankers and wealth managers work together more.

“We came together and said, ‘This is crazy, we’ve got to come together as one Citi and bring a single wealth platform together, put this on a new tech stack, bring in partners,’” said Fraser, who was most recently head of the global consumer unit after a stint running the private bank. “And the place that we’re starting that with is Asia.”

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.