Magazine article American Banker

Citizens Hires as Retail Surges in Ex-Mellon Turf

Magazine article American Banker

Citizens Hires as Retail Surges in Ex-Mellon Turf

Article excerpt

Citizens Financial Group Inc. unveiled plans Tuesday to add 500 jobs in Pennsylvania to build on the retail and small-business banking franchise it bought from Mellon Financial Corp. three months ago.

The Providence, R.I., unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC inherited 4,135 employees when it bought the operations from Pittsburgh-based Mellon for $2.1 billion on Dec. 1. The 500 hires will increase the former Mellon work force by 12%.

Citizens said it needs the extra help to improve and expand service amid what it calls "significant growth" in the business.

Since the announcement of the deal, in July, Citizens has added $1 billion of deposits in Pennsylvania, a 7% increase. And it said its consumer loans written are up 9% from December, when it took over Mellon's branches.

That surge in the retail franchise apparently is Citizens' reward for making some bold moves -- including lowering fees and deposit thresholds -- to prevent a defection by Mellon's customers. Its parent, Royal Bank of Scotland, an active buyer on both sides of the Atlantic, prides itself on postmerger client retention.

"We have been growing nicely," Stephen D. Steinour, Citizens' Pennsylvania chairman and chief executive, said in a telephone interview Monday. "Literally from the month we closed, we've been adding customers. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're off to a strong start."

The Mellon purchase extended the reach of $53 billion-asset Citizens into Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. It added 326 branches, $13.4 billion in consumer and small-business deposits, and $6.1 billion in loans.

It plans to hire 225 managers and sales associates at retail branches in Pennsylvania and Delaware, but most of the hires will be concentrated in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.

An additional 170 workers will be hired for a new operations center in Philadelphia that is scheduled to open in about a month, Mr. …

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