Citi joins UK’s Open Banking regime

Citi is set to become the first corporate bank to use the UK’s new Open Banking regime to enable its business clients to receive small payments directly from their UK customers’ bank accounts.  Open Banking rules require European banks to give third parties access to their customer data, if the account holders agree. The changes, introduced earlier this year, are intended to bring more competition to the sector, enabling other financial services providers to offer additional services to a bank’s customers.


For example, a user will be able to access a range of services through a single banking app, including from rival companies. Most of the banks to sign up to the new rules have been smaller fintech groups. Citi, however, is the first bank to enrol as a “Payment Initiation Service Provider”, allowing it to directly transfer cash from customer accounts without the need for credit or debit cards. “A lot of banks are focused on [Open Banking] from a compliance perspective,” said Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Citi’s head of payments and receiveables. “We see it as an opportunity to enable collection [of payments].”  Citi believes the direct client to business payment system will be cheaper than current alternatives like PayPal and cards and will prove popular with its clients. It is testing that theory with a pilot of “less than 10” corporate clients.


Recommended Global financial crisis How did the financial crisis affect you? Tell us your story Ms Samuel-Ogbu said the bank wanted to roll the system out before the end of the year, and that she would “not be surprised” to see other banks launch similar systems.  “Clients need . . . more real time collection mechanisms,” she said, adding that Citi has already seen similar developments in other global markets including the US and India and sees real time payments as a global phenomenon.


Open Banking has already spawned apps offering financial planning services and analytics, like Bud, Yolt and Plum which allow customers to see multiple bank accounts in a single view and analyse their spending.  Imran Gulamhuseinwala, trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity, said he was excited by Citi’s initiative. “As a leading global bank, Citi’s engagement is a strong endorsement of the UK Open Banking initiative and we look forward to further collaboration to develop the open banking ecosystem,” he added.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu of Citi will be speaking at the Open Banking Expo on 27th November in London. Super early-bird tickets are available until the end of July and can be booked here: 

Credit: Citi Bank Press Office