Citigroup is planning to begin marketing a new app to attract digital customers and grow deposits from individuals in the third quarter, the bank said. The app is part of a larger push to boost the bank’s wealth management business, according to a Reuters story.

The push to attract individual deposits comes even as Citigroup pulled out of most U.S. cities and closed a third of its branches following the financial crisis. Its competitors grew deposits dramatically after the crisis using their networks of branches.

“People are willing to switch to a bank that is able to provide this kind of mobile-first experience,” David Chubak, head of global retail banking and mortgage, said in a statement. Citi has done internal research showing customers are comfortable with mobile banking apps.

digital depositsAmong other functions, Citi said the new app can “can serve as a single hub for users’ financial lives, eliminating the need for additional financial tracking and budgeting apps.”

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With interest rates rising, competition for deposits is expected to become important with investors this earnings season.

Citigroup has about 4% of U.S. deposits, versus 11% for JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. A larger portion of its deposits come from institutions and wealthy customers, which are costlier and require higher interest rates.

According to annual filings reviewed by Reuters, Citi paid 0.81% on U.S. interest-bearing accounts in 2017 compared with less than 0.30% at the other three big banks.

Citigroup is the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets but has only 700 branches, compared with 5,100 for JPMorgan and 4,400 for Bank of America.

Chubak said Citigroup may open branches selectively over time in locations where it would help its wealth management business.

Other financial companies have tried digital outreach, but Citi has a familiar brand name and 120 million credit card accounts in the U.S.

The app does not yet have a name.

Photo: Getty Images

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