Innovation Blog

Citizens Bank: FinTech Startup Challenges 2020


As the thirteenth largest retail bank in the United States, Citizens Bank delivers a broad range of financial services to over five million individuals, companies, not for profits, and institutions. Our vision is to be a top-performing bank distinguished by its customer-centric culture, mindset of continuous improvement and excellent capabilities. We serve our customers through our Consumer Bank (households and businesses up to $25 million annual revenue) and our Commercial Bank (larger corporations and institutions).

In our drive to achieve our customer-centric vision, we launched Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer digital platform, partnered with SigFig to offer SpeciFi, which enables our customers to streamline how they invest and manage their money, and were one of the first banks to partner with Zelle, which enables customers to send funds straight to a friend or family’s bank account right away, for free. We’re onboarding clients to our accessOPTIMA, our new digital treasury management platform, and we are hard at work building new digital banking solutions for consumers and small businesses from the ground up with agile teams working with a modern DevOps environment and Cloud technology.

Hear Citizen Bank’s 2020 challenges:


Citizens Bank is excited to meet the startups applying for the second year of MassChallenge FinTech. Citizens Bank believes the key to technological innovation done right is a laser focus on meeting rapidly evolving customer needs. Today, customers seek simple access, speed and efficiency. Beyond having the latest technology, Citizens’ ability to enhance the customer experience through innovation has positioned the bank as an essential consumer and commercial partner.


For this year’s program, we’re presenting the following challenges:

1) Our Consumer Bank is focused on the opportunities digital channels and digitization offer to be more helpful and efficient in serving our customers. Each day, consumers and businesses interact with Citizens through digital and digital-assisted channels more often and for more needs. This increased digital engagement has enabled Citizens to find and invest in new ways to make things simple for our customers and the colleagues who serve them. A few areas that intrigue us are:

  • Any opportunity to automate and simplify general operations
  • Streamlining loan approval and processing
  • Complying with AML or KYC requirements
  • Supporting and fulfilling service requests on existing deposit accounts, investment accounts or loans

As we accelerate our digital transformation, how can your company help us improve the speed and efficiency with which we serve our customers?

2) Our Commercial Bank seeks to make becoming a customer the best experience it can be. Commercial clients increasingly expect and want a consumer-like experience from commercial banks i.e., a frictionless digital experience. The customer experience starts with the onboarding process which is can be quite cumbersome, and often requires numerous stops/starts, several branches of workflow and an opaque document requirements.

As a result, onboarding new commercial clients can take days and can result in a poor client experience. We are looking for solutions that would make a commercial client onboarding journey self-service, frictionless, highly automated and fast — in minutes vs. days. The solution could include capabilities to auto-populate client information, instantly validate documents and dynamically guide clients through AML/KYC information requirements, among other possibilities.


We owe much of our success to our ability to partner with the best fintechs to create innovative solutions and seamless experiences, and we look to MassChallenge to help us identify these partners. We anticipate our matches from the inaugural cohort to will have led to at least three pilots before the year is out. We welcome your interest in MassChallenge FinTech and in working with Citizens to address these challenges, and we are excited to meet you.

Hear other FinTech Partner Challenges here!

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