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Anita Israelyan of Citizens Bank on loan to Rhode Island Foster Parents Association

Community Service Sabbatical program reaches a milestone with 100 community service colleague sabbaticals since 1994

New London, CT (February 1, 2012) – Anita Israelyan, a senior advocate for the priority response department at Citizens Bank, has been awarded a Community Service Sabbatical. She will be on loan for three months to Rhode Island Foster Parents Association (RIFPA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting families that provide substitute care in the Rhode Island community. Israelyan is a Smithfield resident who grew up in Cranston, RI.

Israelyan, who has been with the bank for more than five years, is working with RIFPA as a full-time volunteer for three months during a paid leave of absence from the bank. Her sabbatical will begin today, February 1, 2012, and run through April 30, 2012.

The Community Service Sabbatical reaches a milestone this year: its 100th sabbatical placement. Started in 1994, the Sabbatical program has allowed Citizens colleagues to donate 48,000 hours of community service. This has saved nonprofits more than $1 million based on the hourly wage for volunteers as determined by Independent Sector.

"Community service is one of our core values at Citizens Bank, and we are very proud of the commitment shown by Anita and our other Community Service Sabbatical volunteers, who voluntarily suspend their 'day jobs' to donate their skills and their energy to organizations like RIFPA, which are so important to the health of local communities," said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island and Connecticut. "We know from the organizations for which our colleagues have volunteered in the past that our colleagues make a real difference in their sabbaticals. It is also a rewarding experience for our sabbatical recipients who come back to work with a different perspective on life and a better understanding of the needs in our community. We congratulate Anita on this opportunity and look forward to learning from her experiences ourselves."

Established in 1980, the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association is a leader in the assistance of foster children and families in Rhode Island. RIFPA strives to provide education and resources to foster children and families. An emphasis is placed upon their education. RIFPA supports the entire community, advocating for all children who are unable to live with their parents. For more information, visit the organization’s website at rifpa.org.

As a full-time volunteer, Israelyan will help RIFPA by working with current and former foster youth in the ASPIRE program and assisting in advocating for educational stability for children in foster care. The ASPIRE program coordinates financial literacy instruction and activities for youth. She will also help the organization prepare for fundraising events and will focus on RIFPA’s redesign and rebrand.

"We are honored that Citizens Bank and Anita have chosen the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association for her community sabbatical," said Lisa Guillette, RIFPA's executive director. "Anita’s skills and community connections will greatly enhance our programming and support for children and youth in foster care."

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 83 branches and 200 ATMs in Rhode Island.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $131 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,900 ATMs and more than 20,000 colleagues. Its 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 more than 30 states. CFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).