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Citizens Bank to collect school supplies for children in New York

Gear for Grades Initiative to help more than 1,300 children in New York and more than 23,000 across the Citizens Financial Group footprint

Albany, N.Y.     (July 15, 2010) - Starting July 19, Citizens Bank is collecting new school supplies for its annual "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 the Capital District until August 9.

Through "Gear for Grades", 1,300 children in New York will receive a new backpack and school supplies. This year, more than 23,000 backpacks filled with new 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 clothes, supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes," said James P. Gaspo, president, Citizens Bank, New York. “Unfortunately, thousands of local children don't have this experience because for them school supplies are a luxury. Citizens Bank hopes to ease the burden for Capital Region families and their children by giving them the gear they need to succeed this year. It’s all part of our philosophy that good banking makes for good citizenship."

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, these costs are out of reach.

Supplies will be accepted at any Citizens Bank branch throughout the Capital District, including its convenient branch locations in select Hannaford Supermarkets, Price Chopper and Wal-Mart stores.

Once all donations are collected, Citizens Bank volunteers will fill the backpacks purchased by the bank and deliver them to Capital District school children through various nonprofit organizations prior to the start of the school 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 226 branches and 277 ATMs in New York.

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).