Citigroup works with tech giants to bring fintech to government

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Citigroup Inc.

C. 1.60%

This week launches a collaborative effort with software giants and startups to find ways in which new financial technologies can be used to combat fraud and bribery in government services.

The initiative, called Citi Tech For Integrity Challenge, will be Citigroup’s public group working with technology companies like

Facebook Inc.,

FB 1.55%

International Business Machines Corp. and

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT -0.87%

and startups worldwide, the bank said. The aim is to help programmers in technology companies use the software from Citigroup and its partners to develop new applications that governments can use, for example, to detect and block illegal payments, protect financial data or provide aid to poor or crisis-hit regions.

The initiative is the latest example of the expansion of “fintech”, which so far has largely focused on new consumer tools such as online loans or mobile payments. Banks also generate billions of dollars in revenue from corporations and governments. Therefore, finding ways to apply technology to these companies would justify a large investment.

That includes finding ways to use technologies like mobile payments apps, photo recognition software, and blockchain – the network system originally developed for Bitcoin but which banks have spent hundreds of millions on apply to their own business– and artificial intelligence for government payment systems. These systems often use technology to manage the government’s payment process, but ultimately deliver money in cash that is untraceable.

“Officials elected to anti-corruption platforms told us they did not have the resources to change events further down the payments system,” said Julie Monaco, Citigroup group global public sector director in the bank’s corporate and investment banking unit About 70% of fintech spending is currently being used by consumers. “We want you to speak to the fintech team and find out how you can join.”

Citigroup may invest in some applications of the new initiative that could be sold through its risk group or a partner to government customers for use in their own services. However, the bank also hopes to spur other partners’ investment and independent development for activities such as communicating with citizens and reforming bureaucracies.

In a talk on the initiative, Citigroup cited a study on global financial integrity in which African countries lost $ 77 billion in 2011 due to illicit financial flows.

Governments, including the US, are among Citigroup’s clients in the sale of services that help move large amounts of payments and other money transfers around the world known as Treasury and Trade Solutions.

Citigroup does not disclose figures for revenue from government customers. Public transaction service revenue rose double digits over the past year, in part due to governments adding new technology to their payment systems, the bank said. Total Treasury and Trade Solutions revenue was $ 8.1 billion in 2016, up 4% year over year.

Banks are using technology to reshape their businesses according to post-financial crisis rules that limit risk-taking. Some companies like

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

search emulate

Apple Inc.’s

Approach by opening parts of their systems to outside companies to develop financial products.

Write to Telis demos at [email protected]

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