Citizens Bank to be sold

Royal Bank of Scotland owns Citizens Bank of Pa. (Kelvin Ma / Bloomberg)

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) says it now plans to sell all of Citizens Financial Group, including Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, which has the biggest bank branch network in the Philadelphia area, in stages over the next three years.

The sale will start with a previously-announced partial initial public stock offering (IPO) in late 2014, and continuing with secondary sales in 2015 and 2016.

This will put newly-installed Citizens chief executive Bruce Van Saun (read my interview with him here, or in a longer version here) who is based in Providence, R.I., in charge of a major independent U.S. bank, with $118 billion in loans and other assets, 1,400 branches in the Northeast and Midwest (where it does business as Charter One), and 19,000 workers; and free the U.S. company from the distractions of RBS's long-running reorganization, while also raising capital for the British company.

Citizens is headed in the Philadelphia area by Daniel Fitzpatrick, and includes the branch networks built by the former Girard and PSFS banks.