Citibank Singapore, recognising that six in 10 of its customers are heartlanders, has opened a branch in the Woodlands MRT station.

The Housing & Development Board website put Woodlands' population at 237,000; the Singapore American School in the neighbourhood, with its enrolment of 3,800 students, further enlarges its potential customer base.

The new branch brings the number of Citibank branches within MRT stations to eight, and its total number of branches in Singapore to 23.

The chief executive of Citibank Singapore Han Kwee Juan said the bank is now scouting for other sites in the north-east to set up more branches.

"Our expansion into the heartlands is part of the group's strategy to serve our customers better," he told reporters at a briefing on the new branch.

"The Woodlands MRT branch will serve as a branch-service model of the future and set the tone for Citibank's new branches going forward," he said.

The group's first heartland branch was in Jurong. Following its partnership with SMRT Corp in 2006, it opened its first MRT-linked branches in Bugis and Tiong Bahru.

The 1,700 sq ft Woodland's branch is a full-service one, designed to provide a "seamless service-delivery model" - under which each walk-in customer is met by a customer relationship officer who will take the customer through the required transaction - be it the opening of an account to getting a personal loan or a mortgage.

As Citibank's first full-service branch within the MRT network, the Woodland's branch is also equipped with the Citibank Express Smart Banking machine, which provides 24/7 self-service access to all branch-banking services. The bank's first such machine was installed at its Paragon branch.

The Woodlands branch is, however, the first in Singapore to have a media wall, delivering constant updates on, for example, Citibank products and services and the latest promotions.

Mr Han said future branches will be set up in locations with a similar population density and a hub structure.

Citibank's branches at Parkway Parade and Vivo City are being remodelled so that they will take on the look and feel of the Woodlands branch; these two branches are to be re-launched in the next couple of months.

Mr Han said: "Each and every new Citibank branch will offer the experience and the unique service-engagement model of our Woodlands SMRT branch and its technological innovations."

The bank has grown its customer base by 40 per cent since 2007. It has also had a 10 per cent year on year rise in the number of new accounts opened at its MRT branches, with six in 10 of these new accounts opened by new customers. The bank declined to give the actual number of customers or accounts.

Besides its 23 branches, the group has 355 Citibank ATMs or ATMs in the shared network, as well as more than 1,200 Citibank-AXS and Citibank-SingPost terminals.