Citizens wants to dominate north east US

Tim Wallace
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RBS is cutting right back in the UK and across the world – it only wants to focus on British retail and business banking.
That means slashing its investment bank further, an efficiency drive in branches and selling overseas units.
One of those is Citizens its US arm, which could be worth as much as $15bn (£8.9bn) – and the documents on that sale, published yesterday, show the spun-off bank has big plans.
Currently it is the 13th biggest retail bank in the US, and it is the second biggest bank by deposits in New England. In a couple of cities, it is number one.
But while RBS is still focusing on slimming down, Citizens plans more growth.
“Building on our core strengths, we intend to become a top-performing regional bank as viewed through the lenses of our five major stakeholders: customers, investors, regulators, colleagues and communities,” said the listing document.
“We have identified a series of fundamental strategic initiatives designed to maximise the full potential of our business and drive sustainable growth and enhanced profitability.”
That means hiring thousands more staff to sell mortgages, for instance, and focusing on more high-yielding – and riskier – commercial loans.
It also wants to grow its wealth management, capital markets and corporate cash management units, all big sources of income.
Bruce van Saun is Citizens’ chief exec and chairman, who will be leading the growth drive.
The document also revealed his pay, which came to $1.2m in salary and $3.7m in stock awards for 2013.
RBS wants to sell at least 25 per cent of Citizens by the end of 2014 and the whole bank by the end of 2016.