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Citizens Financial Group launches new corporate platform focused on its commitment to "Good Banking is Good Citizenship"

A good bank treats you like a neighbor, helping customers and communities grow and prosper

Providence, R.I.   (May 11, 2010) - Reasserting its core values as a company dedicated to the customers and communities it serves, Citizens Financial Group today announced a new corporate platform built around the concept that "Good Banking is Good Citizenship," reflecting the heritage of both Citizens Bank and Charter One.

Rooted in the bank's 100-year history of strong customer service and thoughtful community involvement, the new corporate platform brings to life CFG's central and long-standing belief that a bank should contribute to the growth and vibrancy of its communities, as well as the success and prosperity of its neighbors.

"CFG's principle of citizenship is drawn from what our forefathers envisioned a bank should be - a place neighbors trust to safeguard and grow their savings," said CFG Chairman and CEO Ellen Alemany. "'Good Banking is Good Citizenship' means to us actively participating in communities and making them stronger by giving back, investing locally and encouraging others to contribute to the heath and stability of our neighborhoods. It also means providing customers the resources they need to achieve important life goals. When customers can purchase homes, pay for college educations and start small businesses, it's not only families and individuals who benefit, it's the entire community."

To underscore its role as a good corporate citizen and demonstrate its commitment to core values such as accountability, community, innovation and accessibility, CFG is embarking on a multi-faceted communications program to demonstrate "Good Banking is Good Citizenship" through all channels in which its customers and the community interact with the bank. This includes the experience customers have at its branches, how they experience CFG online and through multiple advertising mediums. CFG colleagues will be engaged through numerous initiatives, including the opportunity to pledge their individual commitment to customers and communities on an internal interactive Web site.

Recent examples of CFG's commitment to its core values include:

  • Investing more than $500 million in technological improvements to enhance overall customer service and expedite the loan process for consumer, small business and commercial customers.
  • Expanding accessibility by adding nearly 500 ATMs at Sunoco APlus convenience stores this spring, with plans to add nearly 600 more through another partnership with a separate chain. The roughly 1,000 new ATMs will increase the bank's ATM network by about 30 percent.
  • Increasing commercial loans by more than 75 percent from Q1 2009.
  • Conducting more than 5.7 million free "Fit Check-ups," one-on-one customer consultations with bankers to help customers identify their individual needs and provide them tailored banking solutions.
  • Hiring 80 new bankers to serve the needs of small and mid-sized companies, as well as launching a new Commercial Debt Syndication unit to support the growing finance needs of our larger customers.
  • Colleagues volunteering 570,000 hours of their time during the past three years and supporting 3,000 community organizations in 2009.
  • Opening more than 15,000 CollegeSaver accounts since the bank introduced the innovative new product last April, paving the way for more than $15 million in bonus money, plus interest, to go toward the college educations of their loved ones. 
  • Awarding customers more than $6.5 million through Green$ense™, which rewards customers for helping the environment by paying them 10 cents for each electronic-payment they make, up to $10 per month and $120 per year.
  • Serving as one of the largest in-store bankers in the nation, providing seven-day banking and extended weekday hours at nearly 500 supermarket and retail locations.
  • Adding more than 140 mortgage lenders since last year, with a commitment to hire 100 more this year, helping customers purchase and refinance homes.
  • Providing $23 million in $5,000 to $8,000 forgivable loans to help nearly 4,400 colleagues purchase homes since the inception of CFG's Homebuyer Assistance program.

Alemany offered three customer and colleague anecdotes – out of thousands – illustrating "Good Banking is Good Citizenship."

"We were able to contribute to the futures of an Ohio customer's seven grandchildren when we helped the grandmother open seven CollegeSaver accounts, which will ultimately provide $7,000, including $1,000 of bonus money from CFG, plus interest, to each of her grandchildren's college educations," said Alemany.

"Through our Child Care Subsidy program, three colleagues at a single branch in Vermont are able to work full time and provide for their families. And, through the assistance we provided in the immediate aftermath of the worst flooding in 200 years in Rhode Island, we are helping a self-employed electrician who lost everything get back on his feet and begin working again.

"In each of these cases, there is a direct impact on customers and colleagues and their families, but there is also a ripple effect that positively impacts the overall community," Alemany said.

The "Good Banking is Good Citizenship" corporate platform was developed by Ogilvy & Mather. Included are print and online ads, new television commercials and out-of-home advertisements. In some of the television ads, CFG employees talk about their roles in the community – from coach to parent – to demonstrate that they too are part of the communities served by CFG. Other ads highlight the bank's beginnings with references to Alexander Hamilton and the founders of the country who were the original visionaries in articulating the values of "citizenship" for the new United States.

CFG Group Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Theresa McLaughlin said, "The basis for CFG's new corporate platform is our long-standing Credo: Customers, Colleagues and Community. The Credo is at our core and is something we truly believe in that goes back to the origins of banking in the United States.

"We wanted to do something to remind people that a good bank succeeds as a business by helping communities and customers grow and prosper," McLaughlin said. It's a reminder that the Hamiltonian view of banking was that of a facilitator of prosperity for a community and the country."

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $144 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,500 ATMs and approximately 22,700 employees. 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 about 40 states. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).