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Citizens Financial Spends $500 Million on Tech Upgrades

100-year-old bank to speed up loan processing, add ATMs.

Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group ($144 billion in assets) has committed to investing more than $500 million in technological improvements to enhance customer service and expedite loan processes for consumer, small business and commercial customers.

In related initiatives, the bank also plans to expand accessibility by adding nearly 500 ATMs at Sunoco APlus convenience stores this spring, with plans to add nearly 600 more through another partnership with a separate chain. The roughly 1,000 new ATMs will increase the bank's ATM network by about 30 percent.

Citizens Financial hopes to increase commercial loans by more than 75 percent from Q1 2009 and conduct more than 5.7 million free "Fit Check-ups," one-on-one customer consultations with bankers to help customers identify their individual needs and provide them tailored banking solutions.

The bank plans to hire 80 new bankers to serve the needs of small and mid-sized companies and launch a new Commercial Debt Syndication unit to support the finance needs of larger customers.

The bank is awarding customers more than $6.5 million through an environmental program called Green$ense, paying them 10 cents for each electronic payment they make, up to $10 per month and $120 per year.

Citizens has provided $23 million in $5,000 to $8,000 forgivable loans to help nearly 4,400 colleagues purchase homes since the inception of CFG's Homebuyer Assistance program.

"CFG's principle of citizenship is drawn from what our forefathers envisioned a bank should be — a place neighbors trust to safeguard and grow their savings," said CFG chairman and CEO Ellen Alemany in a statement. "'Good Banking is Good Citizenship' means to us actively participating in communities and making them stronger by giving back, investing locally and encouraging others to contribute to the heath and stability of our neighborhoods. It also means providing customers the resources they need to achieve important life goals. When customers can purchase homes, pay for college educations and start small businesses, it's not only families and individuals who benefit, it's the entire community."

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