With over 200 million accounts, Citi is one of the world's leading financial services companies — and a true global corporation that connects millions of people across more than 160 countries and jurisdictions around the world.

Citi provides 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, transaction services, and wealth management. Their goal: To serve as a trusted partner to their clients by responsibly providing financial services that enable growth and economic progress.

Technology plays an important part in Citigroup's success, and the organization's 35 high-profile "Citi Service Centres" — including the state-of-the-art facilities located in Mississauga, Ontario — are instrumental in delivering advanced services and support increasingly global customers.

Citi Service Centre in Mississauga sees significant growth in just under 10 years

Though Citi has had roots in Canada dating back to 1919 and has been operating here continuously since the 1950s, the move to rationalize the costs of doing business globally was what really spurred planners to consider Mississauga, Ontario, for one of its Citi Service Centres.

"We're constantly on the lookout for ways to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of our businesses," says Troy Underhill, Director of Public Affairs for Citi Canada. "In Mississauga, it's been a good news story across the board. We're delivering from a cost perspective, and at the same time, the quality of talent that's available to us has been phenomenal. And as we've demonstrated how solid the talent is in Mississauga while delivering on costs, more roles have been pushed here from other Citi offices, and our numbers have steadily grown to meet the demand."

And so, though the organization "started small" with about 100 technologists when the Citi Service Centre opened in Mississauga in 2008, almost ten years later, the campus now employs 1,600 staff across a host of business lines, in what Site President and head of the firm's Operations and Technology group, Ed Heffer calls "a strategic location within Citi's global site network." Among this group, 1,200 technologists are responsible for building, developing and managing the applications that fuel the international trading side of their business. This includes the Citi Velocity platform, an award-winning tool used by a reported 82,000 institutional banking clients in more than 130 countries to access Citi's research and liquidity information across foreign exchange, rates and credit. "The Citi Service Centre in Mississauga is a part of the broader strategy of how we place our talent to deliver support to our global businesses, and it's playing a key role in delivering services in an effective and efficient manner to our customers around the world," explains Heffer. "Beyond Citi Velocity, we're building hundreds more applications for internal business supply chains; transaction, order and back-office processing; financial management; and all the various corporate business banking functions."

Unprecedented growth in Ontario attributed to rich talent market with strong technology chops & global mindset in FinTech

Several key qualities make the Mississauga campus unique among Citi's global Service Centre locales, and also contribute to the firm's unprecedented growth in the Ontario market: "Our technology leaders are impressed by what Ontario has to offer. Not only are we able to recruit a high caliber of talent at a reasonable cost, but we're also able to find technology developers with a global mindset," cites Underhill. "And the culture in Mississauga itself is a big draw; Canada — and more specifically the GTA — are really heavily desired places for people who already work for Citi."

Heffer agrees: "We've found Toronto to be a very rich market for technology roles. We're very happy with our talent sourcing, and it's really the success we've experienced with attracting the right people for roles all across the tech stack that contributes to the continual growth and momentum at the Mississauga site. We also love Toronto because it's a 60-minute flight into New York City. There are strong supports in place in the Ontario market, and we're getting the talent at a much more competitive price than we would out of New York City itself."

Availability of skilled talent pool sets Ontario apart from other global FinTech hubs

Citi finds local universities to be an excellent source of skilled and technologically savvy recruits. In fact, they've built an analyst training program specifically designed to tap into the high caliber of graduates coming out of academic centres — a two-year introductory program that kicks off with six weeks of intensive training in business and technology, to give students who may not have had exposure to financial services a solid grounding in Citi's lines of business as well as how to build technology for the firm. Students then rotate through different technology teams for the remainder of the two years, and take part in additional training and special projects, all while gaining increased visibility with senior leadership on the various business units.

Such programs make Citi a destination of interest for graduating students. So much so that they've been recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers and one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People in 2018 — important accolades for a company that's looking to attract this targeted talent pool.

Could Ontario hold the key to Citi's FinTech future?

For this financial services organizations that sees itself "as a technology company with a banking license," the pervasiveness of mobile devices — and the constant demand from customers for solutions to their everyday financial needs — is what keeps them pushing forward. "It's really about how quickly we can innovate and provide new technology to our customers," notes Heffer of the influence of FinTech in Citi's current and future business lines.

"Mississauga has scored very well in our North American region for technology roles, and it's really on that basis that we're focusing on the Citi Service Centre in Mississauga to support our growth across North America."

Growth is a key focus for Citi, and Underhill is confident in the prospects for the Mississauga Service Centre location: "In the current forecast, we'll look to add 200–300 new developers in the coming year. It's the kind of thing where, as long as we can fill the roles, the roles seem to keep on coming" — signalling a bright future for Citi's involvement in Mississauga, and possibly other locations across Ontario as well.

May 24, 2018
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