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Citizens Bank collecting school supplies for local children in Rhode Island

Gear for Grades Initiative to help more than 6,000 children in Rhode Island and more than 23,000 across the Citizens Financial Group footprint

Providence, R.I.     (July 14, 2010) - Starting July 19, Citizens Bank is collecting new school supplies for its Gear for Grades Initiative, an effort to help local children go back to school with the gear they need to learn. New pencils, folders, glue, notebooks and other supplies can be donated at any Citizens Bank branch in Rhode Island through August 7. This year’s Gear for Grades program is supported by Recycling for Rhode Island Education, Coast to Coast Promotional Products and 92 PRO-FM.

Through Gear for Grades, 6,000 children in Rhode Island will receive a new backpack and school supplies. This year, more than 23,000 backpacks filled with new school supplies will be distributed to children across the Citizens Financial Group’s 12-state retail banking footprint.

“Many of us are fortunate enough to remember the excitement that came with going back to school – the chance to buy new school clothes, supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes,” said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island. “Unfortunately, thousands of local children don’t have this experience because for them, school supplies are a luxury. Citizens Bank hopes to make going back to school a little more exciting for Rhode Island school children by giving them the gear they need to succeed this year.”

Recycling for Rhode Island Education, a nonprofit educational and environmental organization, will distribute the backpacks to children in need throughout Rhode Island. 92 PRO-FM is promoting Gear for Grades and encouraging listeners to donate supplies with public service announcements. Coast to Coast is donating logistical support as well as promotional products.

“92 PRO-FM is pleased to partner with Citizens Bank on Gear for Grades,” said Tony Bristol, Operations Manager for 92 PRO-FM. “This program is a great fit for us and we encourage our listeners to participate by donating new school supplies at a local Citizens Bank branch. It really will make a difference for children in need.”

According to a National Retail Federation survey in 2009, the average family with students in grades kindergarten through 12 is expected to spend $548 on back-to-school expenses. For so many families, those costs are out of reach.

“Coast to Coast Promotional Products is proud to support Gear for Grades,” said their Chief Operating Officer Kathy Ferranti. “We look forward to our continued involvement in this program which helps students start the school year off right.”

“This campaign will go a long way toward getting the school year off to a great start, certainly for our children, but also for the schools they attend and the neighborhoods where they live,” said Bob DeRobbio, Recycling for Rhode Island Education Executive Director. “Citizens Bank is fulfilling a need that most people take for granted. The new backpacks and school supplies will surely make the return to the classroom a more exciting time for many children this year.”

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 82 branches and 150 ATMs in Rhode Island.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $144 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. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).