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The focus of this paper entails project performance evaluation for Citibank in Saudi Arabia. It critically evaluates the tenets of project management plan that has been developed by the Company to point mitigation strategies. To conceptualise the objective, the paper presents project performance evaluation for the company revisiting previous researchers to establish an understanding on processes and procedures needed in performance evaluation and management. From this plan, the paper deciphers information on knowledge management on crises, implementation processes, weaknesses, limitations and strengths of the plan. Additionally, the literature review provides alternative solutions to the problems that Citibank is facing to get suggestions on recommended practices that will improve the performances that project managers should take. These suggestions therefore, would help project managers to be able to evaluate the projects with a more holistic view, rather than merely focusing on the technical and financial matters.

Approach to Performance Evaluation

Performance evaluation and projects should be seen as a temporal group of activities that are designed to produce a unique product service and results and offering it to another company is a typical scenario (Bhatija et al. 2017). Customer centricity or rather customer orientation is developing a business environment while considering the needs of customers and ensuring there is a close cooperation with the customers (Gummesson 2008). In today’s growing business environment, learning about what the customers need and adhering to their needs is the prerequisite to survive and gain profits in business. Citibank shifted from being an organization that is product- to customer centric (Alharthi et al., 2017). This project enabled the customers to explore all their needs via the interactive experience (Saif-Alyousfi et al., (2017).

Citibank sees numerous opportunities in many countries. An example is the effects of the low prices of oil on trade and regional economic growth as well as the threats to security in Saudi Arabia. From this standpoint, project managers begin their performance evaluation by planning as it defines task of the work, the estimation of the needed durations and resources of specific task in project success (Dastbaz et al., 2017). To cater for this issue, Citibank raised two campaigns between 2016 and 2017. The first one was the 15- strong syndicate of big banks by which $10 billion was raised while the second one was three global coordinators that raised $17.5 billion (Albliwi et al., 2017).

Chang et al. (2016) agree with Dastbaz et al. (2017) pointing that currently, the success of an organization project management processes largely relies on the organization’s abilities to come up with experiences that will impress the customers via different innovation channels. Another example was the Citibank launching more than 2,900 ATMs in the US in 2014 (Akhtar et al., 2017). Performance evaluation is therefore premised on these projects as they give the company and project managers an understanding of every phase of project and what is required in these steps. These ATMs were customer- centric and upgraded machines that would serve customers to their satisfaction. The machines are able to offer services in many languages for instance, there is Chinese, Spanish, Greek, English and Korean. These machines were targeted to offer the metric performance evaluation of project Citibank had launched (Sarhan et al., 2017). The machines also sped up the making deposits, checking balances and withdrawing money processes in what was seen as new transition in performance evaluation metrics.

When Citibank got the capital market license to operate in Saudi Arabia, almost a similar project to that in US was established in Saudi Arabia (Sarhan et al., 2017). The project was branded Citigroup Saudi Arabia whose main objective was to provide a full range of banking investment services with project managers tasked with the responsibility of evaluating performance across different projects. These services included capital market operations and debt (Taylan, et al., 2017). According to researchers, this was an approach adopted by Citibank to evaluate its performance in Saudi Arabia and specifically, Panuwatwanich et al. (2017) argue that it helped project managers to begin with a design of the project recognizing and synthesizing steps needed to generate the results in their evaluation.

AbdelAzim et al. (2017) observed that the necessary factor in performance evaluation includes the use of Critical Path Method in the generation of the needed activities, using it to analyze the implication of activities and the choice among different alternative methods of performing the project activities (Alharthi et al., 2017). The evaluation approach has been possible due to the bank’s close relationships not only with its customers but also with the bank investors. It helps its customers meet their needs by ensuring they get to reach the banks that are interested in lending debt offerings. Furthermore, the syndications capabilities of Citibank are complemented entirely by own capital strength and by the teams who come up with ideas to the structure of a transaction (Naief&Naief, 2017).

Citibank has to be strategic in all its endeavors especially when it comes to the customers’ metric performance evaluation Zeithalm et al. (2009), argue that Citibank should use a management tool referred to Customer Pyramid. Well, a customer pyramid is a tool that aids an organization in utilizing the differences that are found in profitability of a customer so that it can boost its profits. He argues that this tool could be of great importance to Citibank because it will help it to strengthen the bond that is there between service quality and profitability.

The Customer Pyramid can also determine the allocation of scarce or rare resources. Different customers have to deliver different levels of priorities and this implies that the strategies of marketing in Citibank must be distinctive for them to very effective. Aspan (2012) came up with another idea of private pass. The private pass is Citibank’s programme that is involved in organizing events with tickets for debit card as well as credit card users. An example is in the year 2012; Citibank organized an Alicia Keys concert, which was specifically for the customers of Citibank only. The ticket to the concert was a debit card or a credit card. Such programs like Private pass enable Citibank to attract and appeal to high-spending customers.

The performance evaluation of Citibank is at its peak and this is because of how it treats its customers. Back in April 2004, Citibank impressed Saudi Arabia when it sold $1.6 billion, which was 20% stakes in Samba, the then Saudi Arabia bank (Naief & Naief, 2017). This move enabled it to understand its performance by distinguishing cost oriented planning where there could be distinction between cost incurred indirectly in the performance of the project and those incurred directly in the accomplishment of the project. This move led it to obtain permission from the Saudi Arabian regulator to directly invest in the country’ stock exchange market. Since then there was rapid growth in Saudi Arabia. Peelen et al. (2013) had similar ideas with Naief & Naief (2017) where they says that Citibank has managed to position its services and products in a manner that literally has a “wow effect” on its customers. The “wow effect” is the effort that Citibank has made to keep its services and products exciting and fresh to the customers.

Citibank has a Citi Project Dashboard that is used to complement the abilities to complement and maximize programme control as well as its efficiency and this possess a number of questions. For example; who is the target user of the Citi Programme dashboard, how it can be accessed and its usage (Sarnan et al., 2017). This dashboard was developed so that it can provide access to program date for managers of program. Clients of Citibank are able to access this program dashboard by writing requests to their managers.

Customer Relationship Performance Evaluation

According to Citibank (2001), customer relationship performance evaluation is the methods, technologies and e-commerce capabilities to manage its customer relationships. This approach helps them gain information regarding their customers and areas in their projects that they need to evaluate. The information can also be used to determine the trends in the market. The finance professionals of Citibank Middle East are located in Dubai. They cover Egypt, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They offer products and services such as security, project and structured trade finance together with advisory services. In the trade finance sector, the needs for an upgrade in infrastructure and the massive growing of regional economies has resulted to financial needs in mines, airports, water treatment facilities, roads, networks in telecommunication and oil development (Naief&Naief, 2017). Citibank ensures that for these projects to be successful, it has offered the project sponsors with adequate funding. By this, they are taking measures to ensure the construction and performances of these projects are at the peak (Naief&Naief, 2017).

Asset- backed securities are a guarantee to a future cash flow and this offers investors an opportunity to yield enhancements and to have the benefits of high credit quality (Hadidi& Omer, 2017). It has securitized assets such as home equity loans, mortgage, auto-loans and trade and credit card receivables. These were done through structures such as Eurobonds, notes, commercial papers, Euronotes, pay-through and pass-through securities, bonds and property income certificates. These approaches show that the Bank is using project managers to evaluate the performance but in doing this, project managers have shifted focus from other analytical techniques used in the overall project performance evaluationby establishing the effectiveness of Critical Path Method in planning, scheduling and tracking performance for their customers.

Saka et al., (2014) conducted a research on customer relationship performance evaluation and found out that customer relationship performance evaluation increases loyalty from customers, increase the market share and enhance a good financial performance. The research motivated companies to promote the customer relationship performance evaluation. An example is when Citibank launched an advertising campaign referred to as Live Richly in Saudi Arabia. The campaign promoted Citibank’s equity loan that lasted from 2001 to 2006 which cost it close to $1 billion thus promoting its image and performance (Hadidi& Omer, 2017). Yet again, Citibank launched another marketing campaign in US in 2014. The campaign promoted Citibank’s latest products at the time including Citigold and the Citi Mobile application (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017). Citibank has had their share of strength and weaknesses both in customer relationship and project performance evaluation strategies. For a start, Citibank managed to come up with a lot of its branches globally. So technically, Citibank’s global reach led to the success of the bank. Moreover, intuitive customer relationship performance evaluation is associated with certain strategies. These strategies include Web marketing, Email marketing, forecast on future marketing strategies, analyzing of customers to buy behavior online and building business-impacting models (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017).

Email performance evaluation

Email performance evaluation has turned out to be the most inexpensive and efficacious in comparison to phone or mail types of performance evaluation. Email performance evaluation was a direct performance evaluation that is data-driven which results to a consistency and accuracy of the response from customers and fulfils the needs of customers that is quite effective (AbdelAzim et al., 2017). Other attractive features found in performance evaluation that the bank used included, eCoupons, eCards, Newsletters and provision of saving events in for example calendars. Email performance evaluation if not appropriately utilized might lead the company to incur some losses.

Web performance evaluation

Due to the increase in web popularity, people are now trending towards web shopping. As a result of its growing popularity, both suppliers and customers are able to have transactions in a real time environment. Citibank took this advantage to measure its project performance across different websites in comparison helping them in determining the timing of project events. Specifically, when and which tasks project managers will deal with first within the project. Web marketing has its disadvantages for example the web campaigns have a high risk of being copied, again if these campaigns are not professional people will not take them seriously and lastly there is too much competition in the internet, which might not be appropriate for the services or products being advertised.

Building business impact models

Performance evaluation in the bank has circled around business impact model that helps it reduce the risk of deteriorating levels of their techniques and helps to yield greater and better results. This approach helps to deliver accurate measurements that are used to check the market performance throughout the organization as well as aiming to do better each time (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017).

Forecast on future performance evaluation

Forecast on future performance evaluation keep changing depending on the emotional behavior change of the customers (Taylan et al., 2017). However, forecasting is recipe for performance evaluation as it projects the changes via statistical analysis and regression from the customer’s behavior online to understand different aspects including tracking as the process of collection, entering and analyzing of actual project performance values like work on tasks and real duration.

Analysis of performance evaluation

Citibank has embarked on performance evaluation to help in the provision of the analysis of customers buying behavior online. This strategy is quite interactive and it provides accurate information with very high speed, including profiling of services. (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017; Peelen et al., 2013). Furthermore, analyzing the customer buying behavior also aids in changing or fixing the market strategies or techniques thereby molding the system according to future aspirations. According to the Bank, this approach necessitates their performance evaluation; by necessitating project tracking since tracking is one of the major phases of project management which if well executed helps in the success of project.

Furthermore, the evaluation approach helps to develop high-end businesses especially in the marketing sector (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017). Therefore, Citibank incorporates these strategies by anticipating changes, ability to check on performance and assemble the best combination of these strategies so as to meet the needs of all customers as well as maximizing its market growth (Carvalho&Rabechini, 2017). In Citibank, the strategy of engaging with its customers is all for the aim of identifying the areas of interest to its target then add value to it and building loyalty. It creates a good relationship between the bank and its customers and thus resulting to the success and growth of Citibank.

Citibank Metric Project Performance

Citibank being the leading organization in the industry has a number of competitive advantages. In comparison to the other banks, Citibank has quite a strong capital base that enables it to be able to support both its organic and in-organic growth by providing different activities (World Market intelligence, 2014). According to Citi Group (2015), the products and their project performances help in keeping the bank well positioned and these attracts more and more customers in Saudi Arabia (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017).

Recent project development and planning have observed that their metric performance against other banks put them ahead (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017). For instance, Carvalhoand and Rabechini (2017) observed that by launching ATM machines to all its affiliate customers it effectively tracked actual work and compared its progress against original project plan. This is in addition to more than 150 million accounts that help explain that it is the leading bank in Saudi Arabia.

In 2012, Citibank conducted a research across seven countries Malaysia included. The research majored on the lifestyle, financial needs and banking preferences of a client with the aim of understanding different approaches that would help them measure performance of their projects. Additionally, the objective of the research was to come up with a value proportion through which Citibank would manage to get hold of emerging market shares in the near future (Citigroup, 2012). The newly launched value proportion had three main agendas. The agendas include;

  • To increase the responsiveness and convenience of Citibank

  • To personalize their products and services and finally,

  • To offer full suite of global banking services to all its customers

From the research, Carvalho and Rabechini (2017) noted that the performance evaluated used work-breakdown structure by also identifying each activity that would be involved in the project. However, in this case, the task structure required high-level activities because incorporating detailed task may have made critical path analysis complex and expensive to manage and maintain (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017). At the end, Citibank realized the need to incorporate online services in some remote areas (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017).

In the case of offering increased responsiveness and convenience, Citibank aimed at offering an electronic chat to the customers, network access to over 11,000 MEPS ATMs, 24/7 mobile banking services picked up by Citi officers in not more 20 seconds time and finally a call-me service that will be useful to customers who are travelling. Under personalization of products and services,

Citibank aimed at offering a well-dedicated personal banker for clients who have less than RM50, 000, offering preferential pricing as well as benefits on selected benefits to clients and finally offering the I-wealth goal planner service (Taylan et al., 2017). This service allows each client to be able to understand their financial status and needs as well as calculating their wealth. Finally, under the agenda of full suite of global banking services it aims at offering free cash withdrawal at 20,000 Citibank ATMs to customers who are overseas, free money transfer to Citibank worldwide, free assistance to open an account to the customers who have relocated overseas and finally offering a consolidated view of a number of Citibank accounts overseas. In 2014, after Citibank gained license to invest in Saudi Arabia, similar projects were undertaken, including free money transfers to Citibank, electronic chat (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017).

Recent activities undertaken by the bank has further indicated their approach towards performance evaluation. For instance the performance evaluation of the Rural Economic Empowerment Program by Citibank in June was approached by a consideration on logistics cost which helped the firm ascertain efficiency of the logistics and supply chain management operations from the time the project was manufactured to the time it serviced people (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017). According to Citibank (2015), the performance evaluation to the project helped rural entrepreneurs to plan, conduct and coordinated their businesses in a more organized manner expanding their businesses using the financial assistance.

Specifically, the technique ascertained the extent to which logistical costs was a significant performance indicator and how it helps in assessing supply chain agility and efficiency when it comes to sustainable supply chain management practices (Sarnan et al., 2017). The second phase of the Rural Empowerment Program focused on similar agendas as those in phase one but covered a different geographical area but still to the people living in the rural areas. The first performance evaluation aimed at economically empowering entrepreneurs by supporting and encouraging them to start and teaching them how to manage income-generating micro enterprises. Other objectives of the program were to:

  • Provide training for business management and ideas on entrepreneurship

  • Provide expertise on income generation

  • Improvement of financial literacy

  • Teach them on financial management skills and

  • Improve the access to finance by ensuring there are links with banks and financial institution

Just like the first phase of the project, Citibank will offer financial support, guidance and professional experts to help train and build the entrepreneurs for successful implementation of the second phase. The active support from Citibank epitomizes its aims towards raising the livelihoods of the entrepreneurs in the rural areas. Basically, the program does not only focus on the economic evaluation but also on the project evaluation because it ensures the projects of the entrepreneurs have been developed and also checks its performance to ensure it is of benefit to the people (Panuwatwanich et al., 2017).


The people of Saudi Arabia are gaining not only banking services and products but also knowledge on business entrepreneurship from Citibank. Citibank has undergone a series of losses, which have resulted to serious cases. For instance, it has recently undergone an internal fraud and this poses the question should Citibank be criticized for not implementing internal controls to prevent such cases of for example fraud? Alternatively, should we congratulate Citibank because it noticed the mistake and immediately took action. Well the response is perhaps both questions. After the incident, Citibank is now focusing its internal control systems that will prevent any more losses as they progress. There are ways in which Citibank collects its data. These are:

  • Primary performance evaluation

  • Secondary performance evaluation.

In Primary performance evaluation, research is done via face to face conversation with clients as well as the staff and bankers. It also involves studying relevant documents to acquire more information. Secondary performance evaluation entails Collection of data through websites, annual bank reports, periodicals, articles, books or various compilations. By this, more information is acquired regarding its projects.


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