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Citibank's Beach Party Today

Citibank is officially launching a new high-tech, interactive banking center today in downtown San Francisco. The 957 square foot center features a 24-hour vestibule with six-language ATMs and CitiPhones, a greeter station, an account opening and service area with touch screen technology, and an area with PCs linked to the Internet. The SF center, located at One Embarcadero Center, will feature a beach party at noon today. Citibank recently opened another e-banking center at the Northbrook Court Mall in Illinois.

Citibank has launched its new electronic banking center, an interactive high-tech venue for retail financial services, in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center, and is promoting the center with a downtown “beach party” on May 28 to illustrate the ease of remote and electronic banking via phone and personal computer.

The center, in which customers use computers to do their banking — from opening an account to making a stock trade to wiring money, is one of two installations Citibank is opening to introduce consumers to electronic banking centers. The other is located at Northbrook Court Mall in Northbrook, Illinois, and opened simultaneously with the center in San Francisco.

“Citibank’s Big Beach Party,” complete with DJs, beach music, dancers, palm trees, frisbees and beach balls, will usher in the summer at Justin Herman Plaza at the foot of Market Street from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28.

The electronic banking center, located on the Lobby Level of One Embarcadero Center, is 957 square feet packed with the latest in financial services technology. The center reflects the concept of small-scale (less than 1,000 square feet) electronic banking centers in retail locations that showcase Citibank’s newest developments in product and service delivery.

“Technology is changing the rules in banking, and we view the electronic banking center as our center for introducing new ways of banking and new ways of serving our customers more efficiently,” said Frits Seegers, president of Citibank California.

“It’s been 25 years since ATMs were introduced, and consumers have embraced the concept of ‘remote access’ to their accounts for deposits and cash withdrawals, and the convenience it affords,” Seegers noted. “The electronic banking center represents the next technological wave in which far more products and services are available through many different electronic means of delivery. The electronic banking center provides a means for us to determine which innovations work best for consumers.”

The electronic banking center features four components: a 24-hour vestibule with ATMs and CitiPhones, a greeter station, an account opening and service area with touch screen technology, and an “info zone” with personal computers for Internet access.

The center’s ATMs are the newest generation of automated teller machines, with a wide array of transactional functions and instructions in six languages: English, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and VIP (Visually Impaired Person). CitiPhones afford 24-hour access to Citibank service representatives and account information.

The greeter station is a focal point of the center, with an experienced personal banker on hand to introduce customers to new and evolving banking technology. The personal banker will familiarize customers with the center’s components and will be able to assist them in connecting with account specialists via phone links.

In the account opening and service area, existing and potential customers can access information about Citibank services and products at their own pace and according to their specific interests. The information is requested and retrieved through interactive multi-media touch screens, which have three presentation components: products and services, a demo of Citibank’s Direct Access PC banking software and information on account opening. Customers can then open new accounts and expand their Citibank relationship using direct phone lines.

In keeping with the concept of electronic commerce, the center’s fourth component, the info zone, is equipped with personal computers that offer access to the Internet, the Citibank web site and Citibank PC banking demonstrations. Future features could include the latest in technology such as high-resolution display panels or video cube walls on which to present interactive financial seminars.

The transactional and service capabilities of the electronic banking center equal or exceed those of traditional bank branches, from basic checking through loan applications to investment services, with the key difference that all transactions will be handled electronically.

“The center will offer customers — particularly techno-savvy customers — new ways to bank at a convenient site during their leisure time,” said Seegers. “With constant innovations in computer technology, the future of financial services is both experimental and exciting. We want the electronic banking center to be a site people come back to not only for their banking, but also to see what’s new in banking technology.”

There is also a Citicard Banking Center (Citibank’s proprietary ATMs) on the street level on One Embarcadero Center.

Citibank California has more than 80 branches in 68 California communities and 2,100 employees. There are 400 Citibank branches in eight states and the District of Columbia. Citibank is a subsidiary of Citicorp, a global financial services organization, with $290 billion in assets. There are more than 89,000 Citibankers serving communities, businesses, governments and individuals in 98 countries around the globe.

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