Citi Relaunches Website with Mobile Flavor

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Most banks design mobile sites as shrunken versions of online banking. Citigroup Inc.'s new website instead takes the lessons of mobile and blows them up for a bigger screen.

Citi has taken cues from the ways consumers bank from mobile handsets and tablets, as well as their desire to have a consolidated view of their financial lives. For example, the old site was designed to be read from top to bottom, whereas the new site is designed horizontally, with information displayed in three strips.

The first section is a snapshot of a consumer's finances and the second facilitates tasks like money movement. The third band displays more detailed information, such as electronic statements.

"This is a case of mobile banking driving online," says Emmett Higdon, founder and principal of Prizm Strategy, in Charlotte, N.C.

Citi is also the first bank to publically launch a site designed in part with Yodlee Inc.'s FinApp developer platform. Citi relaunched its public site Sunday night and is rolling out the online banking changes to customers over the next two months.

The redesign is "focused on clean design, intuitive experience, and emotional engagement," says Tracey Weber, head of Internet and mobile for North America at Citi.

Specifically, the redesign factors in the simplicity users experience in the mobile channel. The new site brings together many of the elements that industry experts say are critical to the next generation of online banking products.

These include a centralized dashboard view of a consumer's finances and the ability to transact from that dashboard. It also lets users set financial goals and aggregate data from multiple accounts.

The site's second strip, called the Quick Tasks window, lets consumers view rewards and statements, transfer funds and pay bills directly from the dashboard. When consumers take a deeper dive into their Citi accounts, other overlays appear, displaying transaction details or offering a talk with a Citi representative.

The public website has also been redesigned to make its language more consumer-friendly and less "bankerly," Weber says.

"Citi is indeed moving in the right direction with a starting page that emphasizes 'view' plus 'do,' " says Mark Schwanhausser, a senior analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research.

Weber says the site will let customers track spending, aggregate other external account information, create a financial plan and set goals, among other things.

"Banking websites are about accomplishing tasks, so the easier you can make that, the happier and more satisfied customers are," Weber says.

Citi worked with Yodlee, of Redwood City, Calif., to enable the account aggregation portion of the website, as well as some of the more complex personal financial management capabilities like setting goals and net-worth tracking.

"[Citi] was very motivated to become one of the top destinations for online banking and they are pulling out all the stops," Peter Hazlehurst, chief product officer for Yodlee says.

Yodlee's FinApp platform provides financial "widgets" that banks or their customers can drag and drop to various points on a website. Widgets can provide functions like account aggregation, wealth tracking and tax preparation.

Citi developers designed their own applications with the FinApp platform, Hazlehurst says. They also chose from a "carrousel" of applications developed by others, he says.

Yodlee has long said that some of the top banks have worked in development on the platform, but it has not previously named them.

While Citi frequently develops its online banking capabilities in-house, "Yodlee was one of the best partners building this and it made sense to use them," Weber says.

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Comments (1)
Picture of new website would be logical and good addition to text.
Posted by dave_fortney | Monday, October 03 2011 at 12:14PM ET
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