Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Vikram Pandit made time on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new Citibank in Manhattan's Union Square. That tells you something about the importance his company has assigned to the new location.
But the real significance of the 9,600-square-foot branch is not the collection of bells and whistles that Citi calls its "smart banking technologies." Many of the features, if not already offered by competitors — the Bank of America Corp. branch up the block also has a comfortable lounge and check-scanning ATMs that do not require deposit envelopes — are unlikely to leave much of an impression on customers who regularly encounter these things elsewhere in their lives. Free Wi-Fi? Got it at Starbucks. Flat-panel touch screens? Practically de rigueur for anyone with an iPhone.
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