The Bank Slate


Citizens Financial in R.I. launches private bank

Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., is forming a private bank.

The $233 billion-asset company shared the news at a conference, noting that it had hired 50 senior bankers and 100 support staff from the failed First Republic Bank. Citizens will initially operate out of Boston, south Florida, New York and California.

The plan is to focus on people with at least $10 million of net worth, with offerings to include credit cards, mortgages and deposit accounts.

The private bank’s success “will be grounded in offering a world-class, extraordinary customer experience,” Brendan Coughlin, Citizens’ consumer banking head, said a the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference.

“We’ve made no secret about our desire to continue to grow our wealth management franchise over the last few years,” he added. “We aim to bring together the breadth of the bank … to the client in a single, integrated client experience.”

Separately, Citizens said it plans to shed $9.2 billion of noncore assets by the end of 2025.

The company said the portfolio includes indirect auto, which is expected to decline from $10.4 billion to $3 billion, and education and other retail loans.

Citizens previously announced plans to exit indirect auto lending.

“Opportunistic sales may accelerate” the process, the presentation said.

Half of the noncore rundown will be used to invest in cash and securities, while 25% will pay down funding. The rest will be used to support core loan growth in areas such as commercial lending, home equity lines, credit cards and Citizens Pay.

“There’s no need to actually rush out and have a fire sale in this rate environment,” John Woods, Citizens’ chief financial officer, said at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference. “We’re feeling really confident that there’s no need to rush out and accelerate something and crystallize some losses in the noncore book.”

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