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Citizens Financial Group Expands M&A Advisory Team with Western Reserve Partners Acquisition

PROVIDENCE, RI – Citizens Financial Group, Inc. [NYSE: CFG] today announced the acquisition of Western Reserve Partners LLC, a Cleveland-based merger and acquisition advisory firm dedicated to delivering a full range of financial advisory services with a focus on middle market clients. The transaction follows the 2016 launch of Citizens Capital Markets, Inc., which added broker-dealer capabilities to the bank’s capital markets platform.

The acquisition will further strengthen Citizens’ ability to serve commercial clients by accelerating the build out of its M&A and financial advisory capabilities. This key and growing client need was highlighted in the bank’s recently published sixth annual nationwide Middle Market M&A Outlook, in which 73 percent of potential buyers and 53 percent of potential sellers said they are either currently involved in or open to considering a strategic transaction.

Ralph M. Della Ratta, Western Reserve’s CEO and managing partner, who co-founded the firm in 2004 with five other partners who are still active in the business, will lead the Western Reserve team and report to Donald McCree, Citizens vice chairman and head of Commercial Banking. The addition of the Western Reserve team will result in a combined Citizens M&A and financial advisory platform of nearly 30 professionals, including nine managing directors with an average of more than 30 years of financial services experience.

“Citizens is dedicated to delivering the expertise, capabilities and strong execution to help each client through its business life cycle,” said McCree. “We have been moving decisively to broaden our capabilities and this acquisition adds scale and deep expertise, along with a strong cultural fit, that will help us to advise our clients even more effectively.”

“We are delighted to join such a strong and growing commercial bank,” said Della Ratta. “The decision to buy or sell is among the most critical a business can make, and this transaction positions Citizens even more strongly to partner with its clients at that critical stage of their business life.”

The addition of Western Reserve’s highly experienced team adds to the growing number of investments Citizens is making to deliver on its commitment to provide thoughtful advice and strong execution to its clients. The transaction, which follows several other recent additions of key industry, product and corporate finance talent, will also further strengthen Citizens’ presence in the Midwest region.

The transaction will be funded with cash. Terms were undisclosed.

The transaction is expected to close this month, subject to Western Reserve receiving FINRA approval. All other regulatory approvals have been secured. Upon closing, the firm will operate as Western Reserve Partners, a division of Citizens Capital Markets, Inc.

For more information about Citizens, visit the Citizens Commercial Banking website.

For more information about Western Reserve, visit wesrespartners.com.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $150.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2017. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides wealth management, mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in select markets nationwide. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets and M&A advisory, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance.

Citizens operates through its subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania as Citizens Bank, Citizens Commercial Banking and Citizens One. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at www.citizensbank.com.

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