Citibank CEO Says Customization of Financial Services Will Become the Norm

Citibank CEO Says Customization of Financial Services Will Become the Norm

Martin Mugambi, Citibank chief executive officer for Kenya and East Africa clusters Friday said the Coronavirus pandemic will change banking in material ways forever.

Mugambi said banking will not be a physical construct and financial services will not only be provided by banks.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has changed how we live, work, and relate to each other. And this includes how we bank,” Mr. Martin Mugambi said during Fridays’ Kenya Bankers CEO Chat on ‘Enhancing Financial Services Access Through Digital Platforms’.

This months’ “My Chat with a Bank CEO” is themed “Supporting Customers in the Coronavirus Disruption”.  It will also feature chief executives, Jeremy Awori, ABSA Bank Kenya and Charles Mudiwa, Stanbic Bank, who will engage the public on industry initiatives banks have taken to cushion the banking public against the challenges created on businesses by the Coronavirus disease disruption in the country.


According to Mugambi, going forward financial institutions will have to revisit their business models by utilizing customer data to offer appropriate products and services.

“The customization of financial services will become the norm. “Show me that you know me” will be the new mantra. Tailored financial solutions, frictionless payments, online marketplaces, and digital service centers are some of the innovations that will be the new norm for banking,” he says.

Mugambi adds that Kenya is already well on this course as we have seen Fintechs and mobile network operators (MNOs) in the market develop interesting propositions.

He also clarified that as the sector continues to collaborate between mobile network operators, card and payments network companies, as well as, Fintechs, with an aim to promote access to financial services,  ‘digital platforms are not just about Applications and Mobile, it covers everything relating to how you virtually interact with banking partners and other ecosystems’.

“In our region, mobile banking is what comes to mind, but we should also consider other platforms that use API (something that sends information between two parties), smart digital tools, including Artificial Intelligence and data-led tools, that remove friction in banking.”

For instance, retail customer support is not limited to just call centers – we have the ability to solve serve your needs through intelligent digital platforms that use data and automated solutions. I would say automated or self-service banking is the new normal of retail service models.

“APIs are the next smart way in which banks will interface with their corporate customers beyond host to host applications. APIs are resilient and safe because you expose them to partners in a managed ecosystem. For instance, some bank APIs connect to SWIFT, ERPs and other corporate files to exchange data in a secure environment,” he says.

The lessons the Citibank chief executive says he has learned during this period, he says are three: 

Lesson 1, Remote working is going to be the new norm.

Lesson 2, The digital economy has really started now, if you are not ready, you will be left behind.

Lesson 3, The most important asset banks have is their people, trust, and ability to be relevant. COVID has taught us to go back to the basics and focus on what is really important.

Lesson 4, Empathetic leadership is what will distinguish those who will survive and thrive versus those who will not make it into the fourth industrial revolution.