Citibank UAE Strategy Paper

Posted: June 16, 2017

Appendix

Citibank UAE is a subsidiary of Citi which, is one of the leading financial organizations in the world. Citi, the parent company, operates in all the six continents in more than 140 countries with approximately 200 million clients (Grant, R., 2010, 156).  Citibank UAE began its operations in 1964 when the parent company, Citigroup, first began operations in the region. Citibank UAE has therefore, operated in the region for over 50 years. The bank not only operates in UAE but also in the neighboring countries in the region, largely relying on the wide clientele of the parent organization. Citibank UAE has only 5 branches in the region. In addition, the bank has approximately more than 3000 employees.

Citigroup prides itself in its ability to offer diversified and personalized financial services. Similarly, the Citibank UAE offers a wide range of products. The bank besides offering consumer and commercial products, it also provides personalized financial services such as private equity, structured products, and hedge funds. Despite the Citibank UAE has well established brand name and large clientele base, the bank faces cut-throat competition from local based banks. The UAE lending market is saturated due to the high number of financial institutions in the region. However, Citibank UAE has performed admirably well in the region in light of the massive pull-out by other foreign banks. The exemplary Citibank performance is epitomized by the numerous awards the bank has earned in the various services it offers.  Among, the awards the banks has won are the best Equity House in the region as well as the best Sukuk deal, an Islamic Finance award both earned in 2010.

Introduction

Strategy is a term used to refer to plans set to help accomplish certain goals, mostly under circumstances of uncertainty. It is a representation of how goals will be achieved when allocated resources are mobilized to help execute the intended actions. There are 5 different P’s commonly used in the business sector that represent organizational strategy. These are: plan, pattern ploy, position, and perspective (Grant, R., 2010, 34). Most frequently strategies are depicted as intended courses of action planned and pursued to achieve specific outcomes. Strategy as a pattern is a technique that can be used for both deliberate and unintended purposes. As a result of organizations operating in different environments, strategy can often be used as a means to match the organization with its environment. In addition to that, organizations may equally use strategies as ploys to manipulate or distract competitors. Strategy from the perspective point of view indicates that it can equally be viewed as a concept. When organizations employ strategy as a perspective, it is shared by members of the organization through their intentions and/or actions.  As a strategy, perspective represents “image and vision” created by the leader (Mintzberg, H., et al, 2009, 111). Mintzberg brings out strategy as a complex formations.

Decision making and implementation stages of an organizations management are more often most likely to alter various set strategies despite the extent to which they have been advanced. Successful strategies are mostly thought out to be representative of given states of the mind other than being outcomes of vigorous analysis. Analysis is interpreted to bring forth a creative input to the whole decision making process in bid to aid successful idea implementation that could have otherwise been poorly implemented in addition to testing for merging ideas to help understand their strategic implications (Bouee, .C-E, 2011, 198). It is thus, crucially important and essential for organizations to ensure that their strategists are well versed with all the concepts and ideas contained in a variety of proposed strategies to help realize the preconceived set targets and goals to help them achieve increased prosperity and improved growth and output.

Citibank UAE is an internationally recognized and accredited institution that has numerous strategies to help it fight through and sustain itself in the ever challenging, dynamic and ever evolving banking industry. Some of the strategies embraced and applied by the bank include balanced score-card, value creation, and group as well as resource allocation strategies. Other policies adopted by the bank include growth oriented plans, enhancing employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction strategies. In addition to this, Citibank UAE has four core businesses segments that include consumer, commercial and private banking to offer diversified financial services to its clients.  The bank’s CIRA’s section is a leading investment and research industry that conducts financial research for clients.

Internal and External Factors Analysis

Both internal and external factors have affected the bank’s strategies for growth (Lloyd, T, 2009, 68). Some of the internal factors include the bank’s ability to provide financial resources to its clients including its cash reserves and liquidity levels. The type of financial products the banks provides influences its strategies to market these services.  The other very crucial factor is personnel availability especially skilled workers. This factor has enormous impact on the modality and possibility through which, various strategies can be implemented and effected to achieve organizational goals. The bank requires skilled and knowledgeable personnel to implement any of its strategies. Lack of skilled employees can therefore be catastrophic to Citibank UAE. 

Lloyd, T (2009, 78) opines that organizational structure is another critical factor that influences the choice of an organization’s structure. Citibank’s organizational structure ensures that the company’s strategy conforms to organizational culture and practices to alleviate challenges during the implementation of these strategies. Thus, an organization’s structure either inhibits or promotes the implementation of various strategies. Other factors like corporate culture also influence the choice of organizational strategy as they remain a strong pillar in an organization since they provide the basis upon which Citibank UAE builds its brand name. To wind up on some of the internal factors that affect the choice of the bank’s strategies, include the managers’ knowledge and understanding of the banking sector as well as their convictions can strongly influence the choice of the company’s strategies.

External factors play a critical role in influencing the policies adopted by Citibank UAE.   These factors can make the bank’s management to either embrace or reject certain strategies. Firstly, industry competition is a key factor in the selection of various actionable strategies of a company (Lloyd, T, 2009, 167). The banking industry in UAE is very competitive with numerous banks forcing each one to strongly fight to protect its market niche in addition to expanding its base. Whenever a competitor bank brings a new product in the market, then the other banks have to counter or even bring forth a better product into the market thereby, ensuring an implementation of a counter strategy that is driven by the externally influencing factor of competition. Competition in the UAE banking industry is worsened for foreign banks like Citibank due to state support of the local banks.

Political factors through various governmental regulations are external factors that influence the choice, selection and implementation of various strategies in the market (Lampel J., et al., 2014, 167). These factors come in through moves by the set governmental agencies to either raise or lower the bank lending rates or flexibility of various banking regulations. This is evident in the UAE where the government is very supportive of the local banks since most of them are state-owned. Other factors include the changing trends in the banking sector where customers keep changing from one region to another and so do their tastes and preferences also influence the choice of organizational plans. As banks in the region keep opening new branches in various ambitious expansion programs, the nature of expected target customers stays a critical external factor in determining the type of policies and strategies to be implemented to help effectively realize their company objectives and targets.

Assessment of Citibank’s UAE strategies

Citibank’s UAE growth oriented strategies have all through proved to be very productive. These strategies have guided its massive growth in customer population in addition the notable increases in the number of bank outlets worldwide. Through the bank’s well established and strongly anchored system, the bank has been able to expand through more than one hundred and fifty countries worldwide with commanding business performance across all its banking sectors. With the UAE and Asian market being a strong focus in its growth strategies, the result has been very impressive. The bank has been able to penetrate through several countries in the UAE as well as neighboring countries in North Africa. This is just but a microcosm of several other massive expansions strategies across different countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Citibank seems to possess a strong capability to manage and effectively run its growth strategies as evidenced by the large number of customer base and banking outlets worldwide. The strong financial and personnel base seems to be a strong force that keeps propelling the growth agenda of the bank. However, this massive growth is many at times anchored on the company’s corporate culture of extensively basing their foundation on being a premier lender to the affluent in the society without laying much focus on the persons with little financial stamina in the society characterized as the small borrowers. Therefore, this group of clients remain a special opportunity that need to be equally tapped for increased financial growth by Citibank UAE.

Morley, M. (2009, 67) states that customer satisfaction happens to be the center of focus of various financial institutions such as banks. The customer remains the premier target whose satisfaction possesses a strong positive multiplier effect to a company (Mayle, D., 2011, 89). Citibank UAE is not of any divergent opinion as this remains one of its strongest operational strategies. Customers need to be satisfied that their wealth is safe in the hands of the bank. In addition, they need to understand and appreciate the rates they get charged by their bank. Besides, they need to be satisfied with the nature of the bank’s management and the strategies put in place for proper administration and growth. The customers need to feel appreciated and wanted by the bank besides being proud to be a special part of their bank. There is a strong customer satisfaction strategy employed by Citibank UAE. To achieve the goals of this strategy, the bank has established vital customer relations trainings and manuals that aim at ensuring that all their employees are conversant with their noble obligations to handle all their customers honorably. This strategy has been widely achieved due to the banks’ rich endowment of strong financial capital and a well dedicated workforce. However, rich managerial experience possessed by their various bank managers has also had a strong impact and influence in ensuring that this strategy works effectively without any flaws.

On resource allocation, the bank has equally excelled in the execution of this very strategy. The very first resource that the bank has heavily relied on is the quality of its staff. This been achieved through very competitive and transparent recruitment systems that ensure recruitment of the very best individuals for various roles in the company. The human capital resource remains critical in the success of any company as is the case with Citibank (Mayle, D, 2011, 106). An excellent staff ensures increased levels of innovation and efficiency of service delivery as the staff expertly master their roles and endeavor to develop new and better ways of going through their job obligations. In addition to this, the bank ensures sufficient levels of resource allocations to help in run its various branches in the region. This majorly refers to their vast cash reserves that reduce the risk of bankruptcy or even collapse during financial crisis. Citibank has all through been able to meet this strategy although it needs to invest sufficient amount of resources in the research sector to help spur modern banking inventions and innovations to help it stay ahead of the rest in the very competitive banking industry.   Thus, despite a lot that has been done by the company with regard to its resources allocation strategies, much still need to be done to improve and advance their levels of financial and technological inventions of new products in the region to help spur increased growth.

Employee satisfaction is a very special pillar for the success of various corporations. Employees determine the brand of a company and thus, their care and affection remains crucial to success and branding quality of a company. Employees always want and need to be appreciated and considered a very strong pillar of a company. It is the obligation of the management to devise best methods to harness the best of their employees’ potential and this is possible through strong focus on the levels of their satisfaction (Mayle, D., 2011, 78). A satisfied workforce is able to effectively and efficiently handle their job obligations duly in the stipulated time span and conditions. It is therefore, the noble role of the management of Citibank UAE to ensure that their employees are satisfied in their various positions. This ensures that they give their best service to the bank’s customers and all affiliates. To ensure satisfaction of their employees, Citibank UAE employees are paid proportionally competitive salary packages as well as being accorded with the necessary leave allowances to help avoid instances of burnout that are commonly experienced in the banking sector across the world. These employees also enjoy conducive working environment with the best professional working relationships with the bank’s management. This strategy is very vital in the retaining of the bank’s employees who could be subject to poaching by other financial institutions due to their quality and value. Thus, external competition also remains critical in ensuring strong efforts to help maintain a well satisfied workforce.

Recommendations

Citibank UAE nevertheless needs to adopt other very successful strategies like the 5C’s analysis strategy and the SWOT analysis strategies. In the 5C’s consideration, the banks strategists will have to focus on issues like: company, competitors, customers, collaborators and climate, (Johnson, Whittington & Scholes K., 2011, 123). On the company section, the analysis will major on the company’s objectives, strategies and capabilities to help the management analyze how the bank fits in its external environment to help determine the areas that require improvement and also fully establish the strength of the business model currently in place to be able to determine the current model’s capability of achieving all the set bank targets.

The management will have to further undertake a rigorous review of the bank’s mission, marketing strategies and the marketing mix in place to allow it to effectively measure how best it can use its position to help establish itself as the premier lending institution. The improvement can be done by carefully analyzing the success of the bank’s products in the market and outlining all that can be done to better the situation and help realize a tremendous increase in the bank’s performance.

The analysis of the bank’s competitors in the market is another very crucial aspect of focus to ensure improved performance in the industry (Bouee, .C-E, 2011, 178). In this sector, the management must retrospectively analyze and strategize on the direct and indirect competitors issue by first identifying the current major and upcoming competitors together with their products, assess their goals, strategies and resources. Thereafter, the management should compare the competitors’ products with those it offers to be able to extensively decide on how best to counter them to claim a larger market share. This can involve timely discovery and realization of the competitors’ future plans to help adequately prepare against any expected current and future competitions. Currently, Citibank UAE faces strong competition from state-owned banks such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank among others.

Customer analysis is another very vital consideration that the management has to put in place to help it realize massive growth. Some of the very critical areas that the management will have to strategically lay focus on are matters that pertain with the company’s customers such as  the customer needs across various areas as they may not be similar through a variety of areas. Analyzing the customer demographics will help the management gauge how various advertisements will are carried out to effectively capture the target market in addition being able to extensively understand the company’s market size and expected growth. Besides such an analysis will help examine the customer’s motivations to purchase the company’s products, analyze the income levels of various customers to enable them fully understand how best to tailor their bank’s products to meet their needs.

In the SWOT analysis strategy, the bank’s management will have to examine the bank’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Done, A., 2012, 123). This SWOT analysis will help focus on the current and future strengths and weaknesses in addition to opportunities and threats that are bound to come the bank’s way and in the line of its service delivery undertakings. This analysis will aim at enabling the bank’s management to fully understand its strengths and exploit them in addition to reducing its weaknesses for the sole purpose and interest of ensuring improved performance and output. On the wider scope, the analysis can even help the bank prepare for unexpected occurrences and situations that may jeopardize its level of performance, strategy options and business operations. Hence, this two strategies can be of great importance to the management of Citibank UAE to consolidate its performance. 

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