President, Citizens Bank Massachusetts
In 1828, Citizens Financial Group (CFG) got its start as a small community bank called the High Street Bank in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, CFG is the thirteenth largest retail bank holding company in the United States, according to SNL Financial, with $130.3 billion in assets as of June 30, 2014. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island with a large presence in Massachusetts, CFG delivers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services through approximately 1,200 branches and more than 3,200 ATMs operated in an 11-state footprint across the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions; and through online, telephone and mobile banking platforms.
We asked Jerry Sargent, President of Citizens Bank, his view on trends in commercial banking, the benefits of operating out of Massachusetts, and the strength of the region’s talent pipeline.
What trends are you seeing in commercial banking in your business?
Clients and prospective clients are looking for financial partners to bring great ideas and the ability to execute quickly on their strategies. The market is very competitive, but companies and institutions value sophisticated capabilities and a high level of personal service. They are looking for financial partners with deep industry expertise. They want commercial bankers to really get to know their businesses and consistently present them with the best ideas and plans for execution.
What are the advantages/benefits of having Boston/MA as your center of operations?
While Providence is our headquarters, Boston has been an important market and center of operations for Citizens. The Massachusetts economy, especially Greater Boston, rebounded well from the financial crisis and that has been very positive for our clients here. Greater Boston has a tight-knit business community that works together to tackle problems. Citizens has about 3,200 employees in Massachusetts and a strong presence throughout our footprint in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. We value our longtime relationships with a wide range of corporate and nonprofit clients in Massachusetts. The bank recently announced the national expansion of our commercial bank – Citizens Commercial Banking – and we have been able to use our strong foundation in Massachusetts to compete for and win business across the country. Many of the successful business lines we’ve developed in Massachusetts have served as models for that national growth.
How does the regional financial services ecosystem affect your talent pipeline?
New England is obviously a very desirable place to live and work. Our universities attract smart, talented students from around the world and our strong financial services sector recruits many of those students after graduation. Citizens has a Commercial Banker Development Program that attracts top talent and provides great training and advancement opportunities for new bankers. We’ve had a chance to go out to universities and talk about commercial banking as a career and a lot of graduates have been excited about the program. As part of the national expansion of Citizens Commercial Banking, we’ve also hired talented bankers from across the region and across the country. They’re attracted to the bank’s culture, its strong commitment to the communities we serve and exciting opportunities they may not have had before in their careers.