Citizens Bank, founded way back in 1828, is one of the oldest financial institutions in the US. It offers many banking products and has more than 35,000 employees.
But is Citizens Bank black-owned?
Citizens Bank is not black-owned. Instead, it’s owned by Citizens Financial Group, a publicly-traded company. However, anyone can own a stake in this bank by purchasing its shares.
Citizens Bank shouldn’t be confused with Citizens Trust Bank. Citizens Bank isn’t black-owned, while the latter is black-owned.
Founded in 1921, Citizens Trust Bank is one of the largest black-owned banking institutions in the United States. It’s also a federally certified CDFI with over 388 million dollars in assets.
The founders were five black businessmen willing to risk it all, having seen a bright future ahead.
From the beginning, this black-owned financial institution had a mission to empower its customers and their families, not only the black but people of all races, to succeed.
In that empowerment spirit and giving back to the community, they launched a free education program to educate young adults on financial issues.
Now, to the ownership of Citizens Bank.
Is Citizens Bank black-owned? The answer is no.
Citizens Bank was at one time a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS). RBS controlled this bank between 1988 and 2014.
The change in ownership occurred in October 2015 when RBS sold its last stake in the bank.
Currently, this bank is part of Citizens Financial Group, whose largest shareholder is the Vanguard Group, Inc., with 47,802,519 shares.
Other notable institutional shareholders include:
- BlackRock Fund Advisors – 26,141,245 shares
- SSgA Funds Management, Inc. – 24,226,054 shares
- Capital Research & Management Co – 23,085,635 shares
- Invesco Advisers, Inc. – 14,064,876 shares
Citizens Financial Group trades in the NYSE and has a market cap of about $23.24B. As of 2021, the group had assets worth 187 billion dollars.
With its headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens Financial Group provides its customers with a wide range of retail and commercial banking products.
These customers include institutions, large corporations, small businesses, middle-market companies, and individuals, helping them reach their potential.
Citizens Financial Group offers a wide range of banking products to its customers under the brand name Citizens Bank.
The bank operates in two banking segments, consumer banking and commercial banking.
Citizens Bank offers their customers both the online and mobile banking experience in the consumer banking segment.
The bank operates about 3000 ATMs and over 1000 branches in eleven states. It also has a 24/7 customer care center where customers can air their problems, grievances, or suggestions.
In the same segment, you’ll discover various products and services, including lending, savings, a full range of banking, small business offerings, and wealth management.
Commercial banking is a bit different. This segment offers its customers financial products and solutions to their queries, including corporate finance, lending, and leasing.
Citizens Bank is also committed to giving back to the community. They run several charity activities to strengthen deprived communities.
They have a financial empowerment program that works with local nonprofits to support educational programs that help young adults develop healthy financial habits.
In a bid to fight hunger in the local communities, Citizens support local food banks and other food relief programs through contributions and volunteer work.
They’ve partnered with Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the US, to run the fight hunger program.
Citizens Bank also strengthens the communities around them through job training, economic development, and small business development.
Citizens Bank’s history is long, dating back to 1828 as High Street Bank in Providence, RI.
In 1871, they became the Citizens Savings Bank after getting the second charter from the Rhode Island legislature.
Citizens Savings Bank then acquired its parent’s group, forming Citizens Trust Company. They would later expand and open 29 branches in the same state.
Come 1954, the bank obtained the Greenville Trust Company, establishing Citizens Financial Group as a holding company.
In 1986, Citizens Bank began to spread its wings outside Rhode Island, and the first state they moved to was Massachusetts.
This was after the bank changed its status from mutual savings to a federal stock savings bank.
In 1988, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) acquired Citizens Bank. Under this ownership, Citizens Bank purchased other small banks in New England.
With that, they became the second-largest bank in the US. Later in 1996, RBS gained 100% ownership of Citizens Bank after acquiring the 23.5% stake that the Bank of Ireland had in Citizens.
Citizens Bank then acquired the retail banking business of State Street Corporation and United States Trust Company of Boston in 1999.
In doing so, they increased their significance in Massachusetts. Plans to expand outside New England began in 2001.
That was after RBS spent 2 billion dollars acquiring the retail banking division of Mellon Financial Corporation in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Other purchases came soon after, including the naming rights of the credit card division of Connecticut-based People’s Bank, which allowed them to issue their own credit cards.
Citizens Financial Group obtained the Cleveland-based Charter One Financial, which had branches in six states, for 10.5 billion dollars.
They then decided to rebrand the two newly acquired branches in Vermont and New York as Citizens Bank.
The Charter One Financial purchase raised Citizens Financial’s bar to become the 12th largest bank in the US, with 1530 branches across 13 states. Their assets’ worth had risen to over 131 billion dollars by then.
After this purchase, in early 2005, all the seven branches in Butler County, Pennsylvania, changed their Citizens Bank banners to Charter One.
Thanks to this rebranding move, the dispute that had been there for three and a half years between Citizens National Bank and Citizens Bank got resolved.
By mid-2005, the two banks came to a mutual agreement, with Citizens National Bank changing its brand to NexTier Bank while Citizens Financial settled on Citizens Bank.
Citizens Financial Group was under investigation in May 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission for getting involved in the subprime mortgage crisis. They, however, didn’t announce it publicly.
Two thousand and eight was such an awful year for the Citizens Bank. Besides being investigated by the SEC, they also lost 929 million dollars. With this huge loss, they even wanted to write off 2 billion dollars in bad loans.
As if that wasn’t enough, Citizens Bank got sued for 8 billion dollars in January 2010 by one Philadelphia developer.
The bank was accused of using fake accusations to recall loans that would help them prop up their two failing parent companies, RBS and Citizens Financial Group.
Currently, Citizens Financial Group owns and controls Citizens Bank.
RBS sold its last 20.9% stake to Citizens Financial Group in 2015, granting the group full-ownership of Citizens Bank.
At the time of writing, Citizens boasts 187 billion dollars in assets, 152 billion dollars deposits, approximately 1000 branches, and close to 3000 ATMs.
All ATMs and branches are in 11 states, including:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
With over 35,000 employees across its over 1000 branches, the bank offers retail and commercial services to customers.
These customers are mainly individuals, small businesses, and even institutions.
Besides providing retail and commercial products and services, they also offer title insurance, mortgage origination, retirement services, and financial planning.
They still have their headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island, but are spreading their wings across the US.
This holding bank recently, in 2021, had an agreement with HSBC Bank USA to acquire their retail operations on the East Coast.
This acquisition included 90 branches in New York City, Southeast Florida, and Washington DC.
They also announced their plans to acquire Investors Bancorp, a New Jersey-based bank holding company, for 3.5 billion dollars in the same year.
If finalized, they’ll possess Investors Bancorp’s more than 150 branches.
Is Citizens Bank black-owned?
It’s clear that Citizens Bank isn’t black-owned but owned by Citizens Financial Group (NYSE: CFG). The group has owned Citizens Bank since 2015 after purchasing RBS’s last stake in the bank.
As of 2021, Citizens Financial Group had assets worth 187 billion dollars, hoping to increase this in the following years.
That said, Citizens Trust Bank is black-owned. But this bank is not in any way connected to Citizens Bank.
Blacks formed Citizens Trust Bank to cater to their financial needs in the 1920s. The bank is still black-owned and has branches in Alabama and Georgia. It primarily supports the economic well-being of African-Americans in the named regions.