Updated July 3 at 9:03pm

Citizens looks to grow commercial banking in new markets

RBS Citizens, the commercial banking division of Providence-based Citizens Financial Group Inc., is expanding into new geographic markets with an emphasis on growth industries such as health care, technology and franchising, the bank announced Wednesday.

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Citizens looks to grow commercial banking in new markets

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BOSTON – RBS Citizens, the commercial banking division of Providence-based Citizens Financial Group Inc., is expanding into new geographic markets with an emphasis on growth industries such as health care, technology and franchising, the bank announced Wednesday.

The commercial banking division primarily targets companies and institutions with annual revenue of $25 million to $2 billion, according to the Citizens Financial Group S-1 statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 12.

While Citizens’ commercial banking activity “is concentrated within the 12-state footprint” of its New England, mid-Atlantic and Midwestern markets, the division also “pursues business opportunities nationally on a targeted basis,” according to the S-1.

Those national opportunities will now become a more highly emphasized target, with the announcement that the bank’s previous focus on the New England, mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions will expand to include Los Angeles; Dallas; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and Washington, D.C.

“We are hiring about 70 bankers as we expand the commercial bank nationally and are about halfway through that hiring,” said Robert Matthews, vice chairman for commercial banking for Citizens, who is based in Boston. “These bankers are based both in our traditional markets and also in new markets across the country.”

“Having invested significant resources in new technology platforms, treasury products and staff, we are excited to be delivering innovative financing ides and great service to companies around the country,” said Matthews.

The growth industries being targeted by the bank in this expansion include health care, technology and franchising.

To make the national expansion possible, the bank has hired teams of experienced commercial bankers across its existing and newly targeted markets. RBS Citizens made key hires to boost its capabilities in specialties such as lender finance, treasury services and global markets, according to the Aug. 13 announcement.

Citizens Financial Group announced in June it will change the name of its commercial banking division from RBS Citizens to Citizens Commercial Banking later this year.

At the same time, Citizens Financial Group announced it will rebrand more than 200 of its Charter One branches in Michigan and Ohio as Citizens Bank, as part of a strategy to create a consistent brand.

Citizens Bank is taking steps to distance itself from its financially troubled parent, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which was bailed out of near-collapse with a $70 billion from the British government in 2008, and the bank is under pressure to return taxpayers money.

Citizens is preparing to take 25 percent of its business public with an IPO planned for this fall, with October the mostly likely time, Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun has said. Citizens has announced that it expects to be fully public by the end of 2016.

Citizens Financial Group has about 5,400 employees in Rhode Island. The bank did not immediately respond to a query as to whether the new expansion would add jobs in the Ocean State.

RBS Citizens, Citizens Financial Group, commercial banking, Citizens IPO, Bruce Van Saun, Robert Matthews,

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