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Citizens Financial Group looks to consolidate 2 banking subsidiaries

Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. hopes to streamline regulatory oversight by merging its Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania subsidiary into its Citizens Bank NA unit.

In a regulatory filing, the $153.45 billion-asset company asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on May 7 for approval to merge both subsidiaries to "reduce enterprise risk and improve efficiency through legal entity, risk management and reporting simplification."

The company expects the consolidations to occur in January 2019, subject to regulatory approval.

Frank Quaratiello, a spokesperson for Citizens, clarified that the top-level holding company, regulated by the Federal Reserve, will still remain intact. But dissolving the Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania will shed subsidiary-level oversight from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Pennsylvania's state banking regulator. The FDIC will continue to supervise Citizens because of the company's insured deposits.

Quaratiello said that the character consolidation should result in no change to how the company operates.

Citizens is not the first company to shift its company structure to streamline regulatory oversight. Bank of the Ozarks and BancorpSouth Bank both moved to scrap their top-level holding company to shed the Fed as a primary regulator in 2017. In November 2017, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. unit MUFG Bank Ltd. obtained approval from the OCC to convert its network of state-regulated U.S. branches into one federal charter.