Citibank Prepares 2nd Wave Ebusiness Rollout

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Citibank Latin America is preparing the second wave of its regional ebusiness rollout after wrapping up a first phase earlier this month with its launch in Colombia, ebusiness strategic planning VP Driss Temsamani told

The Latin American division initiated its ebusiness offering in Brazil, followed by Argentina, Mexico and now Colombia. It will evaluate results from these markets in order to stake out the second wave in countries such as Venezuela and Chile, he said, adding that launches are planned for the coming months.

First wave services include ecommerce solution Citicommerce, which allows companies to migrate their purchase process online; Citibank Procurement; and corporate ebanking solution Citibanking On Line Web. For the second wave Citibank would "readjust our Internet strategies and business models" in line with the tighter market conditions and feedback from customers, Temsamani said, without offering details.

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He said the company is looking at the "typical" models: anonymous exchanges, where people gather to exchange information and request for proposals; closed models, where people transact one-on-one; and eprocurement and marketplaces.

"(US-based research firm) IDC's projections of major growth in the e-procurement and marketplace space sends us a big message and it confirms what we are seeing with our customers," he hinted. The division's main criteria for choosing markets is profitability, "driven by customer volume and transaction growth stimulated by adding value within the solution," he continued.

Citibank is banking on its physical assets to gain a leading position in Latin ebusiness markets. It already has a corporate client base of 6000, 70% of which do business over the Internet.

In terms of growth in the region, Citibank's platforms are showing the same trends as numbers presented by research firm Jupiter, which indicate that Latin America is the fastest growing region in the online space, Temsamani said, without disclosing growth or investment figures.

Citibank recently signed up Brazilian customer relations firm Avantis ( to its Citicommerce platform, which has seen the firm reduce its sales expenses by 30%, Temsamani continued. Also in Brazil the bank has teamed up with networking systems integrator SAP ( in "a major alliance that eventually we are looking at expanding."

In Argentina Citicommerce has vertical deals in place with one company in the food industry and another in the agriculture industry, Temsamani said. Citibank's online consumer division already works with US-based personal finances site Zona Finaciera ( in an arrangement that the corporate side is also looking to drive value from, he added.

Temsamani expressed confidence in Latin ebusiness prospects generally, as barriers such as access come down along with technology costs, "which are moving from fixed costs to transaction-based costs, thereby enabling companies to pay as they use... these factors will allow us to capture more market, more customers and increase our volumes."