Citizens adds green deposits to its corporate product mix

Citizens Financial Group will start offering its commercial clients a deposit account that sweeps funds into environmentally friendly projects and companies.

Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens is launching the green deposit product for corporate clients with annual revenues between $25 million and $2.5 billion, the company said Wednesday. Qualifying uses of the deposits could include renewable energy, waste management, green transport and sustainable agriculture, as examples.

The $185 billion-asset company said it is seeking to appeal to clients that increasingly demand a wider array of socially responsible investing choices, while also working toward its own sustainability goals.

Citizens Financial is the latest bank to offer green deposits to corporate customers, following an example set by MUFG Union Bank and HSBC.


“Our new green deposits solution gives clients a sustainable investment vehicle that aligns with Citizens’ own commitment to help create a healthy and sustainable future for all of our stakeholders,” said Michael Cummins, executive vice president and head of treasury solutions at Citizens.

“As a financial institution, Citizens recognizes the critical role that the bank can play to help finance a socially responsible future and continues to explore opportunities to support sustainable development.”

While the sustainable investment market is well-established, and many large and regional U.S. banks have recently issued sustainable bonds, environmentally minded deposit products have been rarer to come by. The old Vermont National Bank launched a socially responsible banking fund in 1989, but that institution has long since been acquired. Other examples, usually at credit unions or community development financial institutions, are few and far between.

That is beginning to change, however, as more companies face pressure from shareholders, employees and customers, to shrink their carbon footprints. MUFG Union Bank in New York announced in March that it would launch a green deposit product for corporate clients, and HSBC USA launched one of its own.

Citizens enlisted Sustainalytics, a Morningstar division that provides environmental, social and governance research and data, to help develop a green deposit framework to determine qualifying projects.

The company also recently adopted targets to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2050.

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