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Citibank's Online Lending Center Launched

Contributed by mm | October 22, 2006 7:50 PM PST

Jane Kim at Wall Street Journal reported that Citibank Direct, the financial mammoth's online banking arm, is launching an online lending center:

Citigroup Inc.'s Citibank Direct, the online-banking division that launched a high-yield online savings account earlier this year, is expected to roll out a new online-lending center this weekend that will feature lower rates on various types of loans, including home and student loans along with personal lines of credit.

The online lending portal, being referred as Lines and Loans, is already online now. I compiled a quick list of what it offers now (in the state of California where I'm currently vacationing):

- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): 6-month introductory rate as low as prime minus 2.26% (currently 5.99%), and prime minus 1.01% thereafter (currently 7.24%). No closing cost.

- Home Equity Loan: Fixed rate as low as 7.89%. No closing cost.

- Mortgage: 0-point 30-year fixed for 6.5%, and 0-point 5/1 ARM for 6.5% too.

- Personal Lines (called "Checking Plus"): Variable rate from 17.99% to 20.25% (varies by state).

- Personal Loan:: Fixed rate as low as 10.05% for up to $25,000.

- Student Loans:: Various options.

It is probably fair to say none of the current offerings is competitive enough for those of us who are smart enough to consult Bankrate or LendingTree for the lowest rates, but as mentioned in the WSJ article, Citibank may bring online-only rates soon:

The Web site will consolidate all of the bank's loans -- which, for now, will feature the same rates offered elsewhere in the bank -- although the company plans to offer lower Internet-only rates on many of those loans later this year, says Steve Kietz, president of Citibank Direct.

Is this Citibank's version of price discrimination?

Full disclosure: I own 200 shares of Citigroup (C).

This Post Has Received 1 Comment. Share Your Opinions Too.


Nagel Commented on October 23, 2006

We shall see how effective this program is. Other large banks are coming out with new programs themselves. Maybe you will see a bump in the stock price today if The Street thinks this is a winner.


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