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Citizens Financial Group opens more than 15,000 accounts in first year of CollegeSaver

Ohio grandmother opens accounts for four granddaughters, plans to open another for her first grandson

Providence, R.I.     (April 1, 2010) - Citizens Financial Group today announced that its Citizens Bank and Charter One customers have opened more than 15,000 CollegeSaver accounts since the bank introduced the innovative new product last April, paving the way for more than $15 million in bonus money plus interest to go toward the college educations of their loved ones.

CollegeSaver enables customers to earn a $1,000 bonus plus interest for opening an account by the sixth birthday of their child, grandchild or loved one and saving a minimum of $25 per month until the child is 18. Customers receive the $1,000 bonus plus all the accrued interest when the child turns 18. It is available to new and existing customers, and insured by the FDIC up to the legal limit.

"Paying college tuition is one of the most challenging goals our customers face," said Martin Bischoff, Vice Chairman, Consumer and Business Banking at CFG. "We are pleased to provide this innovative savings plan to give our customers a jump start on saving for this important goal. CollegeSaver is another example of our commitment to listen to the needs of our customers, and to develop the products and services they need to meet their goals."

Citizens created CollegeSaver in response to customer feedback about the difficulties they face saving and paying for college educations. CollegeSaver is one of several goal-based savings products Citizens has developed in the past year in response to and in anticipation of customers’ savings needs. By working with a customer insight panel to develop customer solutions such as CollegeSaver, Citizens is able to understand the needs of customers and thoughtfully develop helpful banking solutions

Cathy Skiver, a 59-year-old retired school teacher and grandmother of seven from Wheelersburg, Ohio, has opened CollegeSaver accounts for four of her six granddaughters, all of whom are under the age of six, and plans to open another account for her seventh grandchild and first grandson, born December 2009. She opened certificates of deposit for her two grandchildren who are over the age of six.

"Like any grandparent, I love my grandchildren and want the best for them," said Mrs. Skiver. "CollegeSaver enables me to contribute, in very real way, to the futures of my grandchildren. But it also enables me to help my own children, who are faced with paying the rising costs of college educations for their children."

According to the nonprofit College Board, the average annual tuition and fees (excluding room and board) at private four-year colleges and universities in 2009-10 are $26,273, a 4.4 percent increase from a year earlier. The average tuition and fees (excluding room and board) at public four-year colleges and universities in 2009-10 for are $7,020, up 6.5 percent from the year prior.

There is no limit on the amount of money that customers can contribute monthly to CollegeSaver. Because the interest rates for the product are tiered, customers can earn more by saving more.

Customers who start saving $100 per month when their child is 6 will accumulate about $15,800, including the $1,000 bonus and interest earned when their child turns 18. Customers who start saving $100 per month when their child is born will have approximately $23,500 – a difference of about $7,700.

Interest rate and product information can be obtained at www.charterone.com/savings-and-cds/college-saver.aspx.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $148 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,500 ATMs and approximately 22,700 employees. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).