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Citi Launches FinTech Unit to Lead Mobile-First 'Revolution'

Citigroup has launched a unit in its global consumer bank dedicated to the development of its mobile banking services and promoted Heather Cox to be its CEO.

The division, called Citi FinTech, is in front of a reorganizing effort that will help the business move to a "smartphone-centric business model," Stephen Bird, CEO of global consumer banking, said in a staff memo Friday. It will strive to create and improve mobile-first capabilities across its range of client services, including borrowing and investing.

Bird framed the move as a revolution, meant to reflect the changing behavior of consumers.

"The world's consumers have converted to mobile and competitors are everywhere," he said. "We must act boldly to prepare our business for this new environment and the future opportunities of an 'always on' world. Today, we are taking a bold step in the Revolution of our business model."

Bird tapped Heather Cox, previously the bank's chief client experience, digital and marketing officer, to lead the overhaul as CEO in partnership with Jud Linville, CEO of Citi Cards. Cox was American Banker/Bank Technology News' Digital Banker of the Year for 2015. Linville is also expanding his responsibilities to include client experience, decision management, digital and marketing across the global consumer bank, according to Liz Fogarty, a spokeswoman for the company.

Citi FinTech will recruit staff internally and externally who will work collaboratively on cross-functional teams, which Bird said will eventually be emulated across the global consumer bank.

"Conceived of and built without silos from the start, [Citi FinTech] will be extremely lean with a flat organizational structure and an agile operating model," Bird said.

Fogarty said the team is beginning work immediately and expects to deliver a mobile value proposition in the U.S. by the fourth quarter of 2016.

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