BankSimple, a start-up bank emphasizing, as its name suggests, simplicity, was the subject of a post here back in March 2010, which noted that Bank of America was also introducing a wave of "basic" products for customers sick of gimmickry and red tape from their banks.
BankSimple still has not yet launched to customers, but Citibank is moving to steal, or copy, or pre-empt, depending on how you look at it, the "simple" branding of its would-be-competitor. Citi has launched a web site called Citisimplicity.com and even registered City Simplicity as a service mark. An ATM-screen based ad for the product reads: "I like the simple things in life. My credit card, for example." The Citigroup home page touts the firm as "creating the best outcome for our clients with financial solutions that are simple, creative, and responsible."
It's hard to tell whether this is a reaction to financial regulation or a reaction to market forces and competition. And clearly a promise of simplicity is a different thing than actually delivering on it. Either way, the whole thing strikes me as newsworthy. I don't recall a lot of banks back in 2006 and early 2007 marketing themselves to consumers on the basis of their simplicity.