This is apparent as Callahan surveys the 21st-century banking terrain: digital competitors are massing on every front—from fintech start-ups to new divisions of global institutions—while the speed of every banking process and customer interaction accelerates daily. All this change requires a focus on agility, Callahan says, which in turn demands a cultural rewiring.
At the helm of Citi’s digital transformation, Callahan is helping drive new thinking across the bank. He points to Citi’s digital lab for start-up innovations, powerful new apps for customer smartphones, and, internally, a push to expand capabilities across cloud computing and big data and analytics that enable automation and machine learning. In an interview with McKinsey’s James Kaplan and Asheet Mehta, Callahan describes what it takes to mobilize digital change at one of the world’s leading financial institutions.
Today the skunkworks operation that Bird created, known as Citi FinTech, is made up of about 40 employees handpicked from various parts of Citi and poached from tech companies such as Amazon andPayPal. In keeping with the outsider mentality Bird wants, the operation is based not in Citigroup’s Manhattan headquarters but across the East River in Queens, on the 10th floor of a Citi building that also houses the credit card business. On one wall there’s a five-by-10-foot chart listing all of Citi’s new fintech competitors and which of the megabank’s business lines each startup puts in jeopardy—from payments to commercial lending to wealth management. Not far away is the requisite appurtenance of every startup: a foosball table.
“While the previous list contained 192 companies, the current version has 268 entries across the same categories, basically adding 76 companies to the mix. I’ve renamed Supply Chain to Trade Finance to more accurately reflect the function being served, and renamed Trading to Trading Platforms, since many companies in that segment were actually platforms for performing trades.
In terms of pinpointing where the major additions went, you will see the most swelling in the following categories: Capital Markets, Trade Finance, Banks, Trading Platforms, Compliance, Money Services, and Platforms.”