In September 2014, Citizens Financial Group (CFG: NYSE) became a publicly-traded company in the largest commercial bank initial public offering (IPO) in U.S. history. The offering resulted in the sale of 161 million shares, or ~$3.5 billion of common stock, which equaled a 28.8% ownership stake in the firm. The IPO represented an important step in CFG's planned separation from RBS Group, which has announced its plans to monetize its remaining ownership stake in CFG by the end of 2016.
The First 150+ Years
Built on the principle that we succeed only when our customers succeed, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the oldest and largest financial services firms in the United States. Our history dates back to High Street Bank, founded in 1828, which established Citizens Savings Bank in 1871. By 1981, we had grown to 29 branches in Rhode Island with approximately $1.0 billion of assets. In 1988 we became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the RBS Group.
A Bigger Bank Serving More Communities
Following our acquisition by RBS Group in 1988, we grew rapidly, largely through a series of over 25 strategic bank acquisitions as highlighted below. These acquisitions greatly expanded our footprint throughout New England and into the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, transforming us from a local retail bank into one of the largest retail U.S. bank-holding companies with nearly $170.0 billion in assets at the start of the global financial crisis.
Along the way, one thing has never changed: We are committed to serving the well-being of our customers and the communities. Because when it comes right down to it, Citizens is not really our bank. It’s yours.
Becoming a Stand-alone U.S. Regional Bank
Following the global financial crisis, we undertook a number of decisive steps to reposition and strengthen our business profile, including:
- Transformed business mix: We have focused on achieving a more balanced business mix across our commercial and consumer businesses;
- Improved deposit mix to include a greater percentage of lower cost and more stable demand, checking, money market and savings accounts, and reduced our reliance on wholesale funding;
- Improved strategic focus: Identified and began reducing our exposure to certain non-core assets deemed to be inconsistent with our strategic goals, generally as a result of geographic location, industry, product type or risk level;
- Optimized our geographic footprint: Exited certain geographies where we had underperforming market share positions and redeployed the capital into businesses with more attractive growth and return characteristics. In 2008, we sold 18 branches in the New York Adirondacks region, and in 2009, we sold our Indiana branch franchise, which consisted of 65 branches. In 2012, we sold 57 mostly in-store branches in Long Island and Westchester County, New York, and on June 20, 2014, sold 103 Chicago retail branches along with certain assets and deposits;
- Refined our branch service delivery model: We have reduced our branch footprint while building out self-service channels through online and mobile banking;
- Increased infrastructure investment: Invested more than $1.0 billion in infrastructure and technology from 2009 to year end 2013.
In the years since the global financial crisis we have brought together a seasoned management team with an average of over 24 years of banking experience at large financial institutions. The team is focused on delivering improved returns, through a strong focus on organic growth and efficiency initiatives, along with a more disciplined allocation of capital and resources. This performance-driven culture is designed to enhance our competitiveness by rigorously analyzing the risk-return profiles of our diversified businesses and selectively investing in those that are well positioned to gain market share, improve efficiency and generate long-term growth and sustainable profitability.