Citibank to pump US$5.2m in Net banking in M'sia

Citibank Bhd will funnel RM20 million (US$5.3 million) in the next three years into its Internet banking services to realise its goal of becoming a dominant player in Malaysia after 2003.

KUALA LUMPUR--Citibank Bhd will funnel RM20 million (US$5.3 million) in the next three years into its Internet banking services to realise its goal of becoming a dominant player in Malaysia after 2003.

The investments will be concentrated in the areas of infrastructure, marketing and operating services, its country Internet and e-commerce chief Aaron Ho said on Wednesday.

Citibank's Internet banking services will only be available after January 1, 2002, as stipulated by the country's central bank and will be the first foreign bank to offer such services.

Five local banks Malayan Banking Bhd, Southern Bank Bhd, Alliance Bank Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Public Bank Bhd have already launched Internet banking services.

Ho said Internet banking allows the bank to offer its products and services via a variety of delivery channels, be it mobile phones, PCs and PDAs.

However he said Internet banking would not be popular overnight as a majority of the public was not comfortable transacting on the Web.

"Due to the low PC penetration rate and the fact that many people are still not comfortable with Internet banking, only 5% to 10% of the public is ready for this banking channel," he said in The Star Business.

Ho estimates that only about five percent of Citibank's local customers would initially use its Internet services compared to eight percent in Singapore and 11 percent in Japan.

Citibank will, in the first few months of 2002, offer services such as online bill payment from deposit accounts as well as transfers and standing instructions.

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