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Opinion

Citizens can do a lot with HSBC’s US branches

With the acquisition of 80 east coast branches and a slug of online deposits, Citizens has added even more firepower to its national expansion ambitions.

Citizens Financial Group Inc. Chairman And CEO Bruce Van Saun Interview
Bruce Van Saun, chief executive of Citizens Financial Group. Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Citizens Financial Group, thanks to the steady work done under chief executive Bruce Van Saun since he took the helm in 2013, is in that select group of banks that have options. In good shape heading into the coronavirus pandemic, it is also emerging from it well.

Little surprise then that it has snapped up 80 east coast branches that HSBC had put on the block as it exits the US retail market. Van Saun liked the look of the deal that PNC Financial Services struck to buy BBVA’s US business in November 2020, telling Euromoney in December that deals like that were bringing inorganic growth into focus. Now he has found his chance to do something similar.

The deal comes with high expectations. Citizens thinks it can earn an internal rate of return of 20% from its acquisition of the branches and HSBC’s online deposits platform nationwide (PNC reckoned on 19% for its BBVA acquisition). The deal adds up to about $9 billion of deposits, for which Citizens is paying a 2% premium, and $2.2


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