by: David Armano
No, I'm not talking about Chicago. Though this city has been very good to me. I'm talking about citi (or Citibank for those who remember).
Why am I saying I'm in love with a bank? Who loves their bank?
Here is how the love affair began...
Love at first sight
I was only sixteen. My brother whom I looked up to had an account with Citibank. I can remember watching him use the ATM's in one of the "blue branches". There was something about the combination of the actual branches which seemed so up-to-date and the ATM's highly sensory presentation which drew me to the bank. So when it came to opening up my own account, I naturally chose Citibank.
In my early career days, Citibank was always there for me. I could call them on the phone to get my account information and transfer balances. They would always let me know when my paycheck came in (a very important event for me in those days). And their ATM's were always in the branch—which seemed safe and secure. It was a relationship built on trust. I could trust them to be accessible. I could trust them with my money.
One day I got a floppy drive in the mail. I think of it as our first "love letter" (OK, I'm going overboard here, but it's intentional). Turns out that the floppy drive contained software that let me do some basic banking over the Internet. Let's put this in perspective—there was no online banking back then. I had a 32 bps dial up modem, a Mac, and an AOL account. And it all worked, It was glorious. I even did some bill paying.
In it for the long term
I'm in this relationship for the long term. Why? Because citi has continued to "show me some love". Today, their online banking is fast, easy, and increadibly useful. I don't write checks, pay my bills digitally and can see my wife's actual cashed checks onscreen (she doesn't like that feature too much). Customer support is friendly and accessible and though they have changed their name and went from diamond to "arc"—to me they kept all the good parts the same.
Morale of this little story
OK, so I exaggerated a little with the "love affair" stuff, but I am a loyal citi customer. Why? Because for over 14 years, they have provided me with good experiences. And if those experiences weren't always good—they would take measures to improve. They want me to be happy. And there is something from the online banking —to the branding I see when a Bus passes by. There is just something which makes it all click—and I still get little warm and fuzzy when I go into a branch. Like—I wouldn't want to bank anywhere else. So I guess the morale of the story is good experience + good brand = good for both me and citi.