Industry

What UnionBank's Acquisition Means for Citi Cardholders

Here's what's going to happen to Citi cardholders and their credit cards.
IMAGE UNIONBANK, CITIBANK

As of August 1, UnionBank has formally completed its acquisition of Citi’s consumer banking business in the Philippines. The acquisition has been the talk of the town for months, but besides being provided broad explanations about the acquisition, many Citi cardholders still aren't sure about what happens next. That’s all changed. 

After UnionBank and Citi sent out their statements, Citi sent text messages to its customers, advising them on the next steps now that Citi Philippines has officially transitioned to UnionBank of the Philippines. It directed customers to the official transition website guide, www.unionbankph.com/WelcomeToU, which answers many burning questions. Here’s everything we learned. 

How long will Citi customers get to use Citibank Online, Citi Mobile App, and CitiPhone banking? 

According to UnionBank’s official letter to customers, they can access these platforms “until further notice.” Citi cardholders will probably be able to access their Citi platforms until UnionBank converts their cards to UnionBank cards.

When will my Citi account be converted to a UnionBank account?

According to the WelcomeToU website, Citi cardholders will undergo “full integration,” which is expected to happen sometime in mid-2023. 

“We will embark on a migration of Citi accounts and services to UnionBank’s systems and platforms,” said UnionBank. “We will advise you and other affected clients on what to expect during this process well in advance.”

Watch out for any texts or emails from Citi or UnionBank. 

Will there be new fees for Citi cardholders? 

Fees and charges will stay the same for Citi credit cardholders, and the same applies to waived fees and rewards. 

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Will there be perks for Citi cardholders? 

Yes. UnionBank has launched a campaign for Citi customers, who are now under UnionBank. 

“All credit cardholders will have the chance to win one million worth of reward points, miles, or cash credits, or one year’s worth of fuel, weekly. Expect big discounts at over 1,000 outlets and merchant partners, plus exclusive deals only for Citi branded and UnionBank credit cardholders, when you shop, dine, and travel,” said UnionBank in its customer letter. 

Will UnionBank continue Citi’s standard of service? 

Aside from its credit cards benefits, Citi is known for providing top-tier digital services to its customers. Cardholders can track their credit card expenses in real-time on the Citi mobile app, and reach customer service representatives in minutes via Citibank Online. 

UnionBank has promised to give the same level of service, which is feasible for the leading digital bank in the Philippines. 

What does UnionBank stand to gain from its Citi acquisition?

With one million Citi customers moving to UnionBank, UnionBank is now one of the top three credit card issuers in the country in terms of usage and spends. 

“I cannot overemphasize how this is a game changer for UnionBank, its customers, and its employees. We are now a much larger consumer bank. We added a consumer portfolio that is well-run and very profitable. This will provide us better margins and allow us to maintain our industry-leading ROE moving forward,” explained Edwin R. Bautista, president and CEO of UnionBank. 

Over 1,500 top talents from senior management teams will also be moving from Citi and joining UnionBank, bolstering the bank’s roster of top management. 

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”This acquisition accelerates our goal of becoming a great consumer bank in the Philippines with one of the most diversified consumer banking portfolios among the listed banks today. With the acquisition of the Citi consumer business, we are now strong across three consumer businesses, namely: credit cards, salary and personal loans, and mortgage loans,” said Ana A. Delgado, Chief Customer Experience Officer and Chief Digital Channel Officer. 

To learn more about UnionBank's acquisition of Citi Philippines, visit the WelcomeToU site here.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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