Money & Banking

Citibank's multi-channel drive to boost retail growth

Priya Nair Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr Anand Selvakesari, Head Consumer Banking, Citibank India.

Expanding its own sales force; not to be solely dependent on direct selling agents

As it embarks on growth through retail banking for the second time around, Citibank is looking to acquire customers through multiple channels. No longer will the foreign bank be solely dependent on direct selling agents (DSAs). It is building its own sales force, called ‘universal bankers'.

Universal bankers

This concept (universal bankers) has been introduced for the first time in India, as a pilot project for the Asia-Pacific Region. Over the last 18 months, the bank has appointed about 350-400 universal bankers nationally.

This universal banker model is expected to ensure ‘higher quality of customer acquisition with enhanced customer experience,' said Mr Anand Selvakesari, Head Consumer Banking, Citibank India.

“In order to acquire and bank the right profile of customers within our segmented strategy, you need to have the right distribution channel. We are building on that through our team of universal bankers,” he said.

The universal bankers differ from DSAs as they are trained to sell all products — credit cards, personal loans and deposits. They are employees who are fresh from school or have two-three years' experience.

“They have been provided with extensive training and are capable of handling the entire suite of products and services available with us. It is a client-centric approach. It is not selling a product. It is basically a relationship with the bank,” he said.

Currently, the channel of universal bankers contributes to 50-60 per cent of card sales, about 30 per cent of loan sales and about 40-50 per cent of liabilities, that is, deposit sales. Going ahead, this share will increase as the bank expands the sales force.

However, the bank will still continue to use DSAs, given that it is present in 27 cities in India.

“We still need multiple channels for customer acquisition. Even in the 27 cities that we operate in, it is not enough to acquire customers with 300-400 universal bankers. While we will continue to expand the universal bankers channel, we want to leverage as many channels as we can.

“At the same time we want to ensure that all channels are getting the right profile of customers. Our end focus is acquiring a customer with the right profile and a differentiated customer experience,” Mr Selvakesari said.


Published on March 26, 2012

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