PUNE: Earlier this year, Citibank India hosted a fintech initiative focused on finding solutions to help corporate clients develop simple, regulation-compliant solutions.

“We had eight fintech firms pitch their ideas to solve for institutional client needs such as supply chain, new market entry and operations, and integrating with the digital ecosystem, among others,” said Mridula Iyer, head – treasury & trade solutions (TTS) for Citi South Asia.

The bank has been running similar initiatives for its consumer banking business since 2015, and last year launched ‘Hello’, a relationship management tool for its high-networth customers, built by one of these startups.

Shiniji Kumar, consumer business manager at Citi India, said: “The digital ecosystem in India is vibrant and innovators here are solving for problems that are for the Indian ecosystem using the Indian digital infrastructure, which is, in many ways, ahead of other countries. So, it is important to be a part of this ecosystem of talent and innovation and build mutually beneficial synergies.”

While ‘Hello’ will soon be rolled out across other markets in Asia Pacific, over half of Citigold clients in India have signed up for this tool, which accounts for about a fifth of the monthly investments sales volume. As global banking and financial institutions increase their focus on the Indian market, whether for business growth or tech support, they simply cannot afford to ignore the work being done in the fintech space by local startups.

Over the last two years, most financial institutions are either actively engaging with the startup community through formal accelerators or incubators, or are putting a roadmap in place on how to do it.

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