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Citigroup might build branches as part of national deposit-gathering effort

Citigroup Inc. executives said the bank is pursuing a national deposit strategy and might build additional branches to do so.

The company's recent management shuffling was part of an effort to install regional heads with the ability to view the bank's operations holistically, executives said during the bank's third-quarter earnings call. Previously, the bank's many product lines, such as CitiMortgage or CitiCard, would operate on a bilateral basis, said CEO Michael Corbat.

To evaluate the effort to deepen customer relationships, Corbat said the company will be looking at deposit capture and other metrics around digital usage. In the third quarter, the company reported 18.0 million active digital customers in the U.S., up 5% year over year, and 10.1 million active digital customers internationally, up 19% from the prior-year period.

During the call, an analyst asked if the bank felt a need to offer a broader suite of products to attract retail deposits considering the bank has pulled back from mortgage and auto loans. Management noted that consumers are increasingly counting on nonbanks, particularly digital ones, to fulfill their mortgage or auto needs.

"I think when you look at people either mortgage shopping or auto loan shopping, you tend to see those as more kind of one-off type transactions. Our approach is more of the relationship approach of trying to broaden some of the products we have," Corbat said.

On the bank's footprint, CFO John Gerspach said the bank could consider adding branches to further the deposit-gathering strategy.

"We've never said that we're never going to build another branch," Gerspach said. "Especially [for] those card clients that are outside our six main cities right now, if we start to see concentrations, we'll be looking to build wealth centers around those population areas as well."