Updated March 30 at 4:30pm

Citizens’ new ad campaign pushes trust


PROVIDENCE – Citizens Financial Group Inc. on Tuesday unveiled a new multimillion-dollar advertising campaign that aims to brand the company as a responsible community bank.

The slogan for the bank’s new marketing push is: “Good Banking is Good Citizenship.”

Citizens Financial, one of the 20 biggest bank holding companies in the United States, is owned by the British banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, which is now 84 percent owned by the U.K. government following a $74 billion bailout.

Citizens Chairman and CEO Ellen Alemany described the new marketing effort as a retooled “corporate platform.” Television commercials feature actors in colonial garb portraying the Founding Fathers, as well as real Citizens employees discussing their work in the community. Here is one example:

“We felt it was timely for the market,” Alemany told Providence Business News on Monday. “It reminded us of why banks were created. If you go back to why banks started in the first place, it was really about neighbors entrusting a community bank to guard and grow their savings, while other neighbors borrowed money from that bank.”

That message, Alemany said, is now “more important than ever.”

The new marketing strategy was developed by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, which is part of the big British advertising firm WPP Plc. It will include new TV commercials, print and online ads, and outdoor advertisements, Citizens said.

Citizens was founded in Providence in 1828 as High Street Bank, a commercial lender, with Citizens Savings Bank following in 1871. The bank was purchased by Royal Bank of Scotland in 1988.

Citizens Financial currently holds a total of $144 billion in assets, and includes two subsidiaries.

The larger of the two is RBS Citizens N.A., the holding company for most Citizens and Charter One banks, including Citizens Bank’s operations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The other is Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania.

Citizens Bank is by far the largest bank in Rhode Island, with 40 percent of the state’s $28.4 billion in deposits as of last June, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Bank of America Corp. was next, with 20 percent of the state’s deposits.

Additional information is available at citizensbank.com.


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