Despite being nearly 200 years old, Citizens isn’t much for sticking to the old ways. Driven by customer demands for great experiences, simple solutions, and innovative ideas, they’ve become a digital transformation leader, building a huge in-house technology firm. So, it should be no surprise that this financial services company is constantly producing new technologies to help change finance—and all for one reason.
“Our goal with technology is always to build a product that delights and simplifies the process of banking for our customers,” Rajesh, a senior leader on a Citizens’ tech team, tells us.
In addition to speaking with Rajesh, we also talked to Anthony, an intern on the same technology team, to learn about just a few of the hundreds of ways Citizens is changing fintech to achieve that simple-but-demanding goal.
1. Using Modern Technology And Automation To Drive Speed And Efficiency For Customers
Two of the projects Anthony worked on this summer as a Software Engineering Intern involved using machine learning and automation to make banking easier. The first was called Smart Reading
“Taking out a loan requires lots of documentation,” Anthony explains. “Submitting this information yourself can be very taxing and you won’t always get it right.”
That means this process, which can already take dozens of hours to complete manually, sometimes needs to be done a few times over to make sure it’s accurate. That’s why Anthony and the technology team at Citizens are developing a solution to fix that.
“We’re using in-house technology and different AWS [Amazon Web Services] features to extract information from items like driver’s licenses, and that allows us to automate the process,” Anthony says.
The other automation project Anthony worked on is called Textminer. Its goal was to automate the process of sorting customer emails, which became especially important as customers came up with a myriad of questions related to banking during a pandemic.
“Textmining looks at thousands of emails in real time to understand the context in which a customer is contacting us,” Rajesh explains. “We use machine learning technologies on these emails to correctly and precisely categorize which customers are asking about, for example, ATM locations, then we can give those people an automated response with the right info.”
Using technologies like machine learning and a few other in-house programs, Rajesh, Anthony, and the team were able to not only categorize the questions that people have, but also pair them to the right department to solve them. That means faster, better customer service, every time.
2. Citizens Access: The Online-Only Banking Platform
There’s never been a better time for an online-only banking platform. And when you’re able to trust the company behind it because of, say, decades of reliable service and customer-first experiences, that’s when you’ve got something really special.
“Customers want a unified experience, and that’s what we’re providing here,” Rajesh says. “We are always looking to delight our customers.”
And that’s just what Citizens did with Citizens Access, their new, online-only bank. Thanks to their technology, they’re providing customers with the same great banking experience of an in-person bank—except it’s entirely digital. Features like a 5-minute signup process and seamless integration with other in-person banks are made possible by the tech team’s breakthroughs in automation and efficiency.
3. Launching A High-Quality Virtual Internship Program
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Citizens wasted no time transitioning their summer internship program to a virtual format. Leveraging their focus on innovation and continuous improvement, Citizens was able to successfully pivot to video-based interactions and digital projects—without sacrificing the quality of the experience.
“It’s a lot more interactive than I thought it would be,” Anthony says of the virtual internship program. “I thought it could be cold and corporate, especially since we’re all remote, but it’s not like that at Citizens. We have our values in the right place.”
Citizens’ interns utilize web and video tools, like WebEx and Slack, to interact with their teams and collaborate. Networking opportunities are a key component of the internship program, so Citizens facilitated virtual coffee chats, happy hours and volunteer events for interns to connect with one another. Additionally, interns attended virtual development sessions on important topics, such “Creating Your Personal Brand” and “Communicating With Impact,” to help further hone their soft skills.
“We provide tremendous coaching and support for our interns, new grads, and all colleagues,” Rajesh says. “These are critical elements of their journey to becoming world-class technologists.”
Building Bleeding-Edge Technology With Bleeding-Edge Science
No matter what the end-product is, Rajesh says, it’s going to be built with innovation and science in mind, which isn’t just good news for customers—it’s good news for your career.
“We use some of the most advanced and bleeding-edge tools in our technology stack,” he explains. “We are a multi-cloud team. We use a lot of big data and machine learning. And we always pair the technology with the right science and engineering.”
This means working for Citizens is an opportunity to build something with a legacy—for the customers, for the company, and for the rest of your career.
Want to build technology with a legacy? Check out open opportunities at Citizens Bank on WayUp!