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Consumer Credit Counseling Services of New Hampshire and Vermont named 2009 Champion in Action in area of Financial Literacy

Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV to provide $25,000 grant, PR and volunteer support

Manchester, N.H.  (July 24, 2009) - Citizens Bank New Hampshire and WMUR-TV have named Consumer Credit Counseling Services of New Hampshire and Vermont as their 2009 third quarter Champion in Action® in the area of financial literacy. As part of the award, the organization will receive a $25,000 grant, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its dedication to providing and delivering free professional consumer financial education and counseling.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to join WMUR-TV in naming Consumer Credit Counseling Services of New Hampshire and Vermont as the newest Champion in Action,” said Cathleen A. Schmidt, President, Citizens Bank, New Hampshire. “It is particularly timely to draw attention to the fine work of this organization, given the current economic challenges people are facing  By providing financial, marketing, and volunteer support, we can assist this Champion in advancing its programs and services. Consumer Credit Counseling Services provides much needed reputable financial counseling services to those in need in both states.  We congratulate the organization’s efforts, and we are proud to contribute to its success.” 

The Champions in Action program is designed to recognize and support nonprofit organizations for their contributions to New Hampshire communities. A new Champion in Action is selected each quarter among a range of social service areas.

“Sharing in this initiative with Citizens Bank continues to be a source of great pride," said Jeff Bartlett, General Manager of WMUR-TV. “We are very pleased to help out organizations across the state that demonstrate such a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives of so many New Hampshire residents. They truly are champions.”
 
With its 14 offices throughout both states, CCCS of NH & VT provides one-on-one counseling with certified counselors, on-line support and financial education workshops for adults and youth. 

“Empowering individuals to take charge of their finances and make informed decisions that will result in long-term financial stability is the key to what we do – and that’s become even more important with each passing day,” said Kerry York, Executive Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of NH & VT.  “Our goal is to see an increase in the use of budgets and financial planning, and expanded knowledge of the necessary steps to achieve financial security.”

According to York, because every person’s financial circumstance is unique, CCCS of NH & VT offers free individual 90-minute counseling sessions.  One-on-one counseling provides clients with a plan tailored to their needs which can help them reduce and eliminate debt, strengthen credit and save money.  In addition to individual counseling, CCCS of NH & VT offers workshops for adults and youth addressing such topics as understanding credit, savings and budgeting, identify theft and debt reduction.

CCCS of NH & VT has a proven record of success and is certified by the Counsel on Accreditation.  In the last twelve months the organization successfully counseled a record 6,252 individuals, providing one-on-one assistance in building customized family household budgets, an 18% increase over the prior two fiscal years.  Another 3,140 participants gained personal money management skills through workshops and educational opportunities, 689 clients accessed housing counseling appointments and 565 clients began the process of paying down their debt. The organization also served 1835 bankruptcy counseling sessions.

As a Champion in Action, CCCS of NH & VT will receive:
• A $25,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Bank Foundation.
• Media coverage from WMUR-TV, including public service announcements and television profiles.
• Volunteer support from Citizens and WMUR-TV employees.
• Extensive public relations support.
• Promotional support, highlighting the current “Champion in Action” in all Citizens Bank branches and on its ATMs.
• Exposure on both Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV Web sites.

“We are honored to be recognized by Citizens Bank and WMUR as a Champion in Action,” said York. “This award will enable us to reach more people in need of financial education, providing them with the knowledge they need to succeed and improve their quality of life.”

A nonprofit organization focusing on hunger will be named for the fourth quarter Champion in Action in October 2009.

To learn more about the CCCS of NH & VT visit www.TakeChargeOfYourMoney.org or call (603) 224-6593 or 1-(800) 327-6778. CCCS of NH & VT is located at 105 Loudon Road, Building #1, Concord, NH 03301.

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 78 branches and 158 ATMs in New Hampshire.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $167 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets and deposits. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).

About WMUR-TV

WMUR-TV (Ch. 9) is an ABC-TV affiliate headquartered in Manchester, N.H., and is owned and managed by Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., one of the nation's largest television station groups. WMUR-TV is New Hampshire's largest commercial TV station, reaching more than a million people. Founded in 1954, the station's news, feature and sports coverage has won numerous awards for professional and journalistic excellence. WMUR-TV is considered the broadcast news source of record for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary election. WMUR-TV provides online news and information at www.WMUR.com.