Apr 16, 2021

Citi pledges US$1trn towards sustainable finance by 2030

Citi
Sustainability
Finance
Banking
William Girling
2 min
Citi has simultaneously announced that it will be committing $1trn to sustainable finance and exiting 13 EMEA and Asia retail banking markets
Citi has simultaneously announced that it will be committing $1trn to sustainable finance and exiting 13 EMEA and Asia retail banking markets...

The new 2030 plan, a rapid update on the company’s 2025 Sustainable Progress Strategy, released in July 2020, features substantial new investment.

Designed to harmonise with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Citi has boosted commitment in some areas by 100%, such as increasing its environmental target from $250bn to $500bn.

Specifically, the company will focus on the following areas:

  • Renewable energy and clean tech
  • Water conservation
  • Sustainable transport
  • Accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • Socio-economic development for education, housing, healthcare, financial inclusion, diversity and equality

COVID-19: Clarifying the value of ESG

“As the pandemic has made clear, our economic and physical health, our environment and our social stability are all inextricably linked. At Citi, our response is similarly multi-pronged and interconnected,” said the company.

Indeed, 2021 has already seen several significant ESG developments for the company: in March, Jane Frazer, CEO, outlined Citi’s net-zero emissions by 2050 plan.

The company was named exclusive financial advisor to the COVAX Facility to support the distribution of vaccines and has also committed over $100m to pandemic-related relief efforts. Despite all this, Citi remains focused on how it can remain a force for good through finance:

“While there is still much to do and the challenges are immense, our goals are both ambitious and urgent and our commitment to collective action - with governments, clients and competitors - is stronger than ever.”

Citibank pulls out of 13 retail banking markets

Elsewhere, Citibank has made the significant decision to exit 13 retail banking markets across EMEA and Asia.

With shutdowns in “Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam,” according to the BBC, the company is labelling this as a consolidatory move. 

Citi reported a healthy Q1 net income of $7.9bn, seemingly confirming that the move isn’t motivated by financial losses. Frazer has stated that the scale necessary for competition in these regions simply did not exist:

"As a result of the ongoing refresh of our strategy, we have decided that we are going to double down on wealth. We will operate our consumer banking franchise in Asia and EMEA solely from four wealth centres, Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE and London.”

However, the shift notably contrasts with the more expansionist moves of Citibank’s peers like HSBC, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, all of which are exploring the Chinese market. 

Did you know? Jane Frazer ranked #3 on our 'Top 100 Women in Fintech' list. Read the full list here 

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Jun 15, 2021

Mobile money app Monese partners with Veriff

monese
veriff
Fintech
Cybersecurity
3 min
The global identity verification provider Veriff, will provide Monese with an additional security layer

The London-based European mobile money fintech, Monese, has announced its partnership with Veriff, a global identity verification provider.

According to reports, the partnership was motivated by Monese recognising the need for enhanced security for its digital banking services. The collaboration will provide an additional layer of safety and security for the mobile money app.

Monese, which was launched in 2015 by Estonian entrepreneur Norris Koppel, was the UK’s first mobile app alternative to incumbent banks, and currently offers services for mobile money accounts across 31 countries. 

Veriff is an Estonia-based technology company focused on identity verification that has seen rapid growth over the past 18 months. In April, it secured US$69mn in a Series B funding round led by investment firms IVP and Accel.

Cybersecurity and fintech

The spate of data breaches in recent weeks is driving companies to seek cutting-edge technologies to fortify their platforms against hackers who use malware and ransomware to infiltrate and steal customer data. Identification fraud is also on the rise.

The partnership with Veriff will see enhanced security solutions integrated into the onboarding and authentication processes of Monese’s platform, to verify the identities of Monese users and help the company meet KYC (know your client) requirements. 

The integration will also speed up and improve the accuracy of user screening, thus helping to prevent identity fraud. 

Monese customer base

The majority of the banking fintech’s customers work in the gig economy, are self-employed, or living in a different European country to that in which they were born, and are not therefore well served by mainstream banks.  Monese has filled a gap in the market by providing access to flexible financial services and support.

Customers can deposit salaries, set up Direct Debits or standing orders, and use their account as a savings platform. Monese also allows users to link their PayPal and Avios accounts to their Monese accounts and pay via Apple Pay and Google Pay.  

Competative market for fintech

Speaking about the new partnership, Janer Gorohhov, co-founder and chief product officer of Veriff explained, “This partnership with Monese strengthens our position in the UK’s highly competitive digital banking market. We’re excited to aid Monese in its mission to provide access to fair, flexible financial services and support while minimising friction as we simultaneously expand our organisation’s footprint in the UK via our customer base and team.” 

Atul Choudrie, Chief Commercial Officer at Monese,  said the move would improve customer services and increase protection against fraudulent behaviors. “At Monese, we help people build sustained financial resilience, by providing access to fair, flexible financial services and support.”

He added, “Working in partnership with Veriff, we are unlocking new possibilities in delivering a safe and efficient onboarding experience that will help us reach more customers.”

 

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