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Citigroup (C) Rolls Out Digital Platform to Boost Local Lending

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Citigroup (C - Free Report) has launched a digital lending platform, Bridge built by Citi, to offer wider access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses by connecting them with regional, local and community banks online for loans up to $10 million.

Businesses can apply for loans through 18 banks, including six minority depository institutions across the Southeast and Rockies regions, including Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Securing loans is generally challenging for many small and medium-sized businesses as it entails numerous manual processes and is time-consuming. Also, borrowing options are limited to banks in the near vicinity. As for local lenders, expanding the consumer base is generally challenging as these local and community banks have limited digital tools and capabilities to do so.

Hence, by providing a virtual meeting place for lenders and borrowers, Bridge built by Citi will bypass these shortcomings, enabling the procurement of capital for business expansions through a single, quick and easy online request.

Management noted, "Citi believes in the power of local, small businesses and continues to find ways to support businesses that are the foundation of communities across the U.S. Citi funded loans totaling more than $5 billion as part of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program during 2020 and 2021."

The effort comes as part of Citigroup’s commitment to offer inclusive access to capital and support of innovative, digital-first solutions entailing financial services.

The Bridge built by Citi platform makes the lending process more seamless by offering digitization, transparency and standardization to the loan process as borrowers and lenders will be able to real-time track the loan process.

Some regional, local and community banks available on the platform include BancorpSouth Bank in Tupelo, Bank OZK (OZK - Free Report) inLittle Rock and Atlantic Capital Bank subsidiary of Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc. in Atlanta.

Citigroup currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Shares of the bank gained 16.8% over the last six months, underperforming 20.1% growth for the industry.


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Other than aiding local lending, the latest move by Citigroup will strengthen its partnerships with the minority depository institutions and other non-competing banks, while advancing its innovation initiatives.

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