Citizens Financial Group climbs in NYSE debut

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Citizens Financial Group Inc. are rising in its debut as a publicly traded company.

The stock for the U.S. banking unit of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group gained 60 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $22.10 in Wednesday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Citizens Financial Group raised about $3 billion in an initial public offering of 140 million shares. The IPO priced at $21.50 per share, below the expected range of $23 to $25 per share.

Citizens Financial Group, based in Providence, Rhode Island, has about 1,200 branches across the Northeast and Midwest. RBS is based in the U.K. and is mostly owned by the British government.

The stock is trading under the "CFG" ticker symbol.

Citizens Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun on Wednesday called the long-planned IPO a milestone and said it marks another phase of the bank's evolution.

"We are making steady progress toward our goal of becoming a top-tier regional bank that delivers a great banking experience for our customers and additional value for all of our stakeholders," he said in a statement.

Citizens, which has about 18,000 employees, traces its beginnings to High Street Bank, which opened in 1828 in Providence. In 1988, the company was bought by RBS, which called Citizens the flagship for its U.S. expansion. Citizens made 30 acquisitions between 1988 and 2007.

Beginning in 2001, it opened branches in all Stop & Shop groceries in Rhode Island and most in Massachusetts and has since significantly expanded its in-store banking to other states.

The bank plans to rebrand its Charter One branches in Ohio and Michigan as Citizens branches by mid-2015.