Citi announces alliance with Microsoft to provide secure online transactions and support for financial supply chain processes

New York, Vienna - September 17, 2008 - Citi today announced its Global Transaction Services business is collaborating with Microsoft to deliver a series of solutions that will provide assurance and risk mitigation for corporations migrating high-value, paper-based transactions or information exchanges to electronic environments. The alliance will initially center on providing a solution for the issuance and management of high assurance digital identities.

Collaboration leverages technology from two global innovators
This alliance combines Citi’s Managed Identity Services offering with Microsoft’s identity and access solutions. Citi’s offering enables firms to use digital identity and signature technologies to effectively and securely manage the exchange of electronic information in digital commerce and business critical transactions. Microsoft’s solutions provide organizations with secure and easy-to-use tools for managing user identities and associated access privileges.

Initial solution focuses on Identity Lifecycle Management
The initial solution will integrate Citi’s Identity Gateway with Microsoft’s Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM). The Citi Identity Gateway provides the ability to request, retrieve and manage Citi high-assurance digital certificates, both SAFE-BioPharma and IdenTrust. Microsoft’s ILM enables these credentials to be integrated automatically with identity lifecycle processes - including employee enrolment and de-provision. Citi and Microsoft recently completed an evaluation program where select clients, which included Pfizer Inc., assessed the joint solution.

Benefits
By leveraging Citi and Microsoft technologies, corporations will be able to more efficiently leverage paperless workflows, resulting in reduced processing time, internal lag-time, and lower costs associated with paper communication, while not compromising visibility and governance. In addition, firms can take advantage of benefits such as:

  • Increased productivity;
  • Improved compliance;
  • Reduction of IT costs; and
  • Minimized complexity of identity and access management

"We are excited and pleased to add Microsoft to our portfolio of strategic alliances,” said Gary Greenwald, Global Head of Capabilities and Information Products, Citi. "We think digital identities and digital signatures are moving away from being an interesting piece of technical innovation and into being at the heart of innovative solutions that bring control, efficiency and security to a broad range of financial and non-financial business processes.”

“Microsoft is looking forward to working with Citi on this initiative,” said Douglas Leland, general manager of identity and security at Microsoft. “High-assurance identities are critical to customers realizing greater value from online transactions and processing in the financial value chain and other business workflows.”

“We were pleased to work with Citi and Microsoft through the successful pilot testing of this solution and we believe this initiative has tremendous potential to add business value and reduce the complexity associated with a do-it yourself approach to Identity and Access Management,” said Michael Lavoie, Senior Manager of Identity Services at Pfizer Inc. “We’ve been using Citi’s Identity Gateway for more than a year and we’re excited to see where this collaborative effort goes in the future.”

Citi’s Global Transaction Services offers integrated cash management, trade, and securities and fund services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.  With a network spanning over 100 countries, Citi's Global Transaction Services supports over 65,000 clients.  As of the 2nd quarter of 08, it held on average $276 billion in liability balances and $12.8 trillion in assets under custody

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About Citi’s Institutional Clients Group:
Citi’s Institutional Clients Group serves corporate clients, governments and institutional investors around the world, providing expertise and innovative solutions in banking, markets, transaction services and alternative investments. With a history dating back nearly 200 years, Citi today has a global network that includes offices in 104 countries, trading desks in more than 80 countries and transaction services infrastructure covering 140 countries. Citi aims to be trusted advisor to our clients, to execute flawlessly, to strategically commit capital and to always focus on innovation.

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi’s major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney, Banamex and Nikko. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.

About ERSTE
Erste Group Bank was founded in 1819 as the first Austrian savings bank and has developed over the last ten years to one of the largest financial services providers in Central and Eastern Europe. Erste Group Bank is with its more than 54,000 employees one of the leading financial providers in CEE, serving more than 16 million clients in 3,000 branches in 8 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, and Ukraine). As of 30 June 2008 Erste Group Bank has reached 214.2 billion EUR total assets, net profit of EUR 636.6 million and ROE of 14.7 %. For more information, please enter www.erstegroup.com.