Citibank representatives told CNET News.com on Friday that the site could debut as early as this week. Citi f/i offers checking and savings accounts, stock trading, online bill payment, stock quotes, and financial news.
Citibank's entry into the online financial services world comes as traditional banking and investment players move into each other's turf on- and offline.
In June, BankOne launched its Wingspanbank.com financial service and last week, Wells Fargo announced that it would be expanding the services offered by its online bank. Meanwhile, American Express debuted its own online bank last month, and E*Trade Group jumped into online banking in June with its acquisition of Telebank.
Citibank already has an online banking site for current customers. However, unlike other national banks such as Wells Fargo or Bank of America, Citibank does not have an extensive branch network. Analysts expect Citibank to use Citi f/i in place of a branch network to help it establish a national presence and draw in new customers.
Noticeably absent among Citi f/i's current products are mortgages and credit cards. The site directs customers interested in those products to call one of several 1-800 numbers.
Citibank spokesman Mark Rodgers indicated on Friday that the company plans to expand the Citi f/i site far beyond its initial offerings.
"Stay tuned on this," he said. "We are at a very introductory stage."