Citibank plans major consumer offensive

US financial services company Citibank is mounting an aggressive marketing campaign to boost its presence in the UK consumer market, after failing to make an impact in its first four years of operation.

Citibank launched its UK consumer banking operation in 1995 as a direct service.

The full-service bank is the largest credit card issuer in the world, with 54 million cards in circulation. But the company admits it has yet to conquer the UK.

Citibank’s drive into the UK centres on a merger with the UK arm of sister company Diners Club, the charge card brand. Both are owned by Citigroup.

The merger has created a new, 25-strong marketing department headed by Martin Johnson, ex-UK Diners Club sales and marketing director. The former Diners Club team will comprise a division within the new Citibank marketing department.

Johnson says: “Citibank has become very serious about the UK market for the first time and will introduce a range of new products, including a vastly expanded credit card range.”

The bank’s UK credit card operation is limited to one, low-profile Gold visa card.

Meanwhile, former Citibank marketing director Alyson West is moving into the new position of head of advertising and communications. She is expected to oversee Citibank’s first UK consumer ad campaign through global agency Young & Rubicam.

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