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Citizens Financial Group launches Energy$ense

New initiative provides low-cost financing for home improvements, more than $500,000 in charitable investments to local non-profits and energy conservation tips for consumers

Providence, R.I.      (February 5, 2009) - Citizens Financial Group, Inc. today announced the launch of Energy$ense, a multi-faceted initiative to help local nonprofits and its Citizens Bank and Charter One customers address heat, utility and other energy costs. 

As part of the program, Citizens is providing more than $500,000 in energy assistance grants to homeless shelters and non-profit organizations that offer home weatherization and utility payment assistance to consumers. Through its Citizens Bank and Charter One divisions, the company also is providing below market-rate loans to eligible consumers who want to make their homes more energy efficient, with a limited-time option to defer their first payment for 90 days.

“Citizens is pleased to provide much needed assistance to consumers and nonprofits struggling with energy costs,” said Joseph J. MarcAurele, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island. “In addition to the funding we are providing nonprofits, the Energy$ense program enables customers to obtain discount financing to make their homes more energy efficient and save on utility costs. To help consumers become more educated about energy use, we also are making special information available at our branches, including energy-saving tips that will enable them to use energy smarter and reduce costs.”

The Energy$ense program includes two below-market interest-rate, unsecured loans for qualified borrowers to make energy-efficient upgrades or improvements to their homes. Customers who take advantage of the discount borrowing opportunity by March 31, 2009, will have the option to defer their first payment for 90 days. The two loans offered as part of the Energy$ense program are:

  • The Citizens Bank Energy Efficiency Loan - designed to help income-eligible borrowers and/or those who live in targeted geographies, finance weatherization projects to help make their homes more energy-efficient. The $1,000, 3% APR fixed-rate loan has a three-year term with a low monthly payment of $29.08 per month. There are no fees or closing costs associated with the loan. Under the same guidelines and for larger home-improvement projects, Citizens Bank also is offering a 5% APR on loans up to $10,000 at terms payable up to seven years.
  • The EZ Home Improvement Loan - a $1,000, 3% APR fixed-rate loan, is available to income-eligible borrowers, and/or those living in targeted geographies, who want to update their homes. Citizens is offering a 6% APR on loans for larger home-improvement projects, up to $10,000, payable up to seven years.

To apply for an EZ Home Improvement Loan or Citizens Bank Energy Efficiency Loan, homeowners should visit a Citizens Bank branch or call 1-877-TOP-RATE. To be eligible, borrowers must live in a low or moderate-income neighborhood, or have income that is less than 80% of the median income.

Through Energy$ense, Citizens is providing consumers information about ways they can stay warm and safe during the winter. Helpful tips include choosing electric heaters and extension cords that are UL rated, insulating pipes and water heaters, and installing carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

Locally, the Citizens Bank Foundation provided the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless with a $100,000 grant for the Shelter Heating Initiative to help homeless shelters from across the state pay increased energy bills this winter.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $161 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,600 branches, more than 3,500 ATMs and more than 24,000 employees. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 13-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, Indiana, 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).