American multinational investment bank Citigroup has partnered with Grab, the Singapore-based transportation network company to launch co-branded credit cards. The decision comes as part of the bank’s plan to increase its Asian customer base by approximately 13 percent, according to Citi’s senior executive.
Gonzalo Luchetti, Citi’s head of consumer banking for Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters, “Today we have about 16 million customers in Asia, and our aspiration is to increase this by about two million in the next few years through partnerships alone.”
Citi and Grab’s new co-branded credit cards will be issued in the Philippines and in Thailand towards the end of the year. After that, it Citi’s co-branded credit cards will be rolled out in other Southeast Asian countries.
Huey Tyng Ooi, managing director of GrabPay Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, said in a statement, The Citigroup Grab co-branded credit card is a natural next step as we create more value for our digital first, always in GrabPay users.”
Last year, Citi’s net income from Asia Pacific was $4.4 billion. That said, a third of its $15.3 billion revenue is generated from Southeast Asia.
“We are not the only ones to see the blinding insight that customers are spending more time on their phones whether in payment, ride sharing or chat ecosystems, but it is all about how you execute a partnership,” Luchetti said.
In recent years, the bank has closed hundreds of branches in Asia. Its branch network has reduced from 650 to approximately 250.
This is not the first time lenders are trying to partner with tech giants. Previously, Goldman Sachs partnered with Apple in an effort to connect millions of iPhone users.