Paper, plastic, or coin? No matter -- RBS Citizens Financial Group can handle it all. The company, formerly known as Citizens Financial Group, is the parent of Citizens Bank and Charter One Bank has more than 1,500 branches -- many of which are located in supermarkets -- in about a dozen states in the Northeast and the Midwest. The banks offer standard retail and commercial services as well as investment services, insurance, and employer-sponsored retirement plans. RBS Citizens Financial also operates a network of non-branch banking offices in about 40 states. One of the largest foreign-owned banks in the country, RBS Citizens Financial Group is the US banking arm of Royal Bank of Scotland.
After being bought by RBS in 1988, RBS Citizens Financial went on an acquisition spree, making more than two dozen deals. Since 2000, the company has gobbled up Mellon's retail banking network, Medford Bancorp and Port Financial in Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Bancorp and Thistle Group Holdings, among others. The company expanded into the Midwest by buying superregional bank Charter One in 2004. Following its acquisition of Charter One, its largest deal yet, RBS Citizens Financial retained the Charter One Bank name in Midwestern markets, but converted the bank's branches to Citizens Bank in New York and Pennsylvania. That was the company's last major acquisition, however.
Like many banks, the company was hamstrung by the mortgage crisis. It posted a nearly $1 billion loss in 2008 as its nonperforming loans roughly doubled. The developments compelled the company to reevaluate its acquisition strategy and it has reversed its field: RBS Citizens Financial sold 18 of its branches in northern New York to Community Bank System in 2008 and all 65 Charter One branches in Indiana to Old National Bancorp the following year. The company also pegged certain operations as noncore, including its dealer finance program and portions of its auto lending business. The company returned to profitability in 2010 as the economy began its halting recovery. In 2012 RBS Citizens Financial unloaded more branches, selling nearly 60 supermarket locations to People's United Financial.
Parent company RBS has been far from immune to the economic downturn as well. It reported the largest-ever loss in British corporate history in 2008. The UK government took a nearly 60% stake in RBS that year and upped that to around 85% in 2009. – less