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RBS Citizens

Our customers now have an extension of our online desktop banking application. They can view and release transactions just as they can from the office, and the new functionality we are adding will help further with collections and releasing wires. accessMOBILE™, powered by Sybase mBanking 365, essentially gives our customers an office away from the office. This resonates greatly with SME customers because it adds value to their businesses.

Jim Gifas
Executive Vice President, Head of Treasury Solutions, RBS Citizens

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $130-billion commercial bank holding company. RBS Citizens Financial Group is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,900 ATMs and approximately 19,700 colleagues. Its two bank subsidiaries, RBS Citizens, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

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New Mobile Banking Application Requires Secure Platform with Familiar User-Interface
In 2010, RBS Citizens launched accessMOBILE—a banking application that empowers business customers to manage cash and payments from an iPhone. The bank provides accessMOBILE to a wide range of business customers including entrepreneurs, small and medium-size business owners, and managers of large corporations. RBS Citizens launched the solution after discovering these user groups tend to gravitate to mobile technology since it helps quickly manage bank accounts and conduct transactions so that they can grow their businesses more efficiently.

The solution evolved after first surveying nearly 1,000 existing customers and prospects to find out what solutions were important to them. Mobile technology rated high because of the innovation it offers in how customers can conduct banking transactions. Once RBS Citizens understood what customers wanted and were willing to pay for, the IT team then looked at a wide range of technology partners for a platform on which to build accessMOBILE.

“We first conducted an unbiased strategic review of many technology providers to see who offered the features and functionality we required to help us strategically position ourselves in the markets in which we do business,” says Jim Gifas, Executive Vice President, Head of Treasury Solutions for RBS Citizens.

“We decided to partner with Sybase 365 because its mBanking mobile platform has a similar look and feel to our online desktop service, and the multi-layer level of security gives us—and more importantly our customers—the confidence that accounts are safe from attacks. Sybase mBanking 365 also offers the most reliable technology for ensuring application performance.”  

Having partnered with Sybase in the past, RBS Citizens also knew it could count on the expertise and the commitment of the Sybase 365 professional services staff.  “Sybase is a stable company that understands where we want to go and how we want to position ourselves strategically,” says Gifas. “This allows us to establish and maintain a level of trust that enables a high level of collaboration.”

Application User-Friendliness Prompts Downloads by Majority of Target Customers
Once RBS Citizens launched the development effort, Sybase partnered closely with the bank for every step of the project. The Sybase 365 professional services team assisted in the planning, design and deployment phases, and the team continues to help the bank further enhance the solution as new features are required.

Sybase mBanking 365 technology has played a major role in allowing accessMOBILE to provide mobile banking capabilities to RBS Citizens business customers. The platform helped the bank develop the solution so that it provides functionality and security similar to the bank’s online desktop banking application—Money Manager GPS.

“Our customer acceptance demonstrates how effectively Sybase mBanking 365 works and the user-friendliness it offers,” Gifas says. “Since launching accessMOBILE in November 2010, nearly 75 percent of our target base has downloaded the app onto their iPhone.”

Because of Sybase mBanking 365, RBS Citizens is one of the leading banks in the corporate mobile banking space. The technology and the ‘go-to-market’ strategy the bank has executed give RBS Citizens an edge on expertise in this space. “Not many banks have achieved what we have in terms of providing mobile capabilities to business customers,” Gifas emphasize. “The help of Sybase 365—from both a technology and an expertise standpoint were critical factors.”

Sybase mBanking 365 also enables accessMOBILE to become an extension of each customer’s online desktop service. Banking services that users transact in their office can now also be managed on an iPhone. 

Business Customers Now Conduct Banking Anywhere at Anytime
The customer adoption rate of accessMOBILE has increased steadily over time. In addition to approaching the 75-percent adoption rate for the target customer base, the majority of accessMOBILE users rely on the application frequently. The service provides convenience to banking processes since users can now easily check on accounts and transact business while on the road or away from their desktop connections. 

Before launching accessMOBILE, RBS Citizens surveyed customers to understand their priorities and what they valued—such as account management tools, convenience, reliability, and security. Sybase mBanking 365 enables the bank to offer all these features, and customer comments demonstrate just how much they appreciate the ability to access their accounts and transact business from an iPhone:

“With a limited management staff that travels often, we conduct critical business from anywhere we have a mobile phone signal…from Arizona to West Virginia.”

“I don't have to be tied to my desk when I know a wire is pending for approval.  accessMOBILE gives me the flexibility to release wires from anywhere. The flexibility is a key benefit.”

“When travelling, I constantly needed to call the office to see if customer payments have come in. But accessMOBILE allows me to retrieve information from anywhere in real time. This allows us to ship products sooner and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.” 

“accessMOBILE is incredibly user-friendly. It took two minutes to download and did not require any instructions. I can approve wires, make transfers and view alerts as well as check on account balances and activity from anywhere.  

“I spend a lot of time away from my office, and accessMOBILE has provided a huge relief. I can actually approve wires while standing in line to board a flight.”

Gifas adds, “We've also learned from customers that accessMOBILE is helpful in disaster recovery. “For example, during a bad snow storm that forced an executive to be held over at an airport, he had to complete a quarterly tax return. He used accessMOBILE to authorize a wire transfer payment and avoided paying an IRS a penalty.”

Sybase 365 Helping Transform the Banking Industry
Sybase mBanking 365 had enabled accessMOBILE to perform so effectively that the bank is now considering next-generation Web services as well as rolling the application out for other mobile devices to expand its usage. 

“Our customers now have an extension of our online desktop banking application,” Gifas adds. “They can view and release transactions just as they can from the office, and the new functionality we are adding will help further with collections and releasing wires. accessMOBILE, powered by Sybase mBanking 365, essentially gives our customers an office away from the office. This resonates greatly with SME customers because it adds value to their businesses.” 

Having the capabilities that Sybase mBanking 365 offers is critical for RBS Citizens because mobile technology is transforming what’s driving the banking industry. “It’s generational, and mobile technology is the single-most important factor impacting the way we do business as well as how customers make and receive payments,” Gifas explains. “Sybase mBanking 365 helps keep us at the forefront in developing these solutions.”

Looking ahead to other ways that RBS Citizens might leverage Sybase 365 technology, the bank currently offers the mobile service on iPhone but wants to leverage Sybase mBanking 365 to expand the service to Android and Blackberry users as well as any other devices and Web browsers that are important to customers. Because of the flexibility Sybase mBanking 365 offers in terms of integrating with other technologies, RBS Citizens will be able to efficiently offer many new capabilities.

“Thanks to Sybase mBanking 365, we are the first in our footprint and the second in the country to offer commercially-based mobile operations.” Gifas says. “This differentiates us in our industry and makes it easier for our customers to do business. The solution is also notable for the level of security. We are very secure with multi-facet authentication, and it is also innovative for being able to walk customers to the nearest ATM.”

“But perhaps the most notable benefit is that we now offer a major bank business application that provides an element of good will for those trying to create a balance between their work and their private lives. Thanks to accessMOBILE and Sybase mBanking 365, they don’t have to stay at work to be available.”


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