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Citizens Financial Group Chairman and CEO Ellen Alemany says rebuilding economy requires rebuilding trust

Alemany spoke on why leadership is a fundamental first step

BOSTON   (June 21, 2010) - As keynote speaker at The Commonwealth Institute’s Breakfast for Champions event, Ellen Alemany, Chairman and CEO of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Americas, said executives must lead by example in today’s recovering business landscape.

“We are witnessing an extraordinary time in history where trust in corporate America, trust in government and trust in financial institutions has been severely damaged,” Alemany said. “The opportunity before us calls for a new approach to leadership – one that rebuilds our faith in the positive impact of responsible businesses.”

Alemany, who has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years serving in a number of leadership roles, shared her views with the Breakfast for Champions audience of women CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives.

Alemany said that trust is the common denominator of any business transaction and the most important one in a banking relationship. Referencing the company’s renewed brand position “Good Banking is Good Citizenship,” she said, “For us, we’re starting at the beginning – reminding people why banks were created in the first place – the critical role they play in facilitating growth and prosperity and the fundamental responsibility they have to the communities they serve.”

Last year, TCI conducted a survey asking the top 100 women-led companies in Massachusetts how the economy impacted their businesses. Results showed that leaders were forced to make significant changes to their businesses in order to grow and remain profitable, while focusing on their strengths. Alemany, who became head of Citizens six months before the financial crisis began, said she had the same concerns. “We chose to use this financial crisis as an opportunity to look deep within our company and start rebuilding by leading with our strengths; taking Citizens back to the basics by redeploying capital in our 12-state footprint to serve our customers; investing in the company and our people; and focusing on organic growth.”

Alemany told the audience of business professionals that sometimes the most important part of your strategy is what you don’t do. “As a result of our laser focus, we’re making progress in the steps to become the top super-regional bank in our markets. Building relationships one at a time – knowing the individuals that we’re doing business with and having a presence in our communities that our customers and the market can point to and know where we stand.”

She concluded by saying, “Together, all of us in this room can rebuild our institutions; together we can rebuild trust; rebuild balance sheets; and together we can rebuild prosperity and a sense of security – for this decade; for this century and beyond.”

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).