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Citizens Bank is an established financial institution with over 1,100 branches and locations in the eastern half of the United States. Citizens Bank opened their doors for business in 1947, and in 1988 they were acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland to become RBS Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank split off from RBS in 2014 and continues to provide personal and business financing to U.S. consumers through phone or in-person applications.

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The Good

Citizens Bank is a leading participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs and offers three types of SBA loans to new and existing businesses. Benefits of the Citizens Bank platform include:

Loan Types

With Citizens Bank, borrowers may be able to obtain a number of varying loan types. These include:

  • SBA 7(a)
  • SBA 504
  • SBA Express loans


Their SBA resources also include helpful tips for applying for SBA loans, FAQs, a glossary of SBA terms, choosing the right SBA loan, and other pertinent information about the SBA loan process.

There are two general types of business loans: flex loans, term loans, and mortgages:

  • A business flex loan is mainly for purchasing business equipment or vehicles over a period of time and includes a six-month purchasing period that operates much like a line of credit.
  • A business term loan is a standard loan that deposits the funds as one lump sum instead of over a period of time. The loan amounts extend up to $350,000. Interest rates can be fixed or variable and can potentially be a little lower than those for business flex loans.
  • A revolving line of credit is also available to small business owners.
  • For all lending types, the interest rates will vary based on the prime rate and on the loan amount, the term length, and more.
  • Citizens Bank does not offer any unsecured loans or lines of credit: all of their standard borrowing options must be secured by general business assets or, in some instances, real estate.


Applicants do not have to be previously established customers but do need to have or to set up a Citizens Bank business checking account for automatic payments on their borrowed amounts. Once all the documentation has been received, applicants can generally expect to hear back within five business days, with an additional two weeks to close on a loan. Funds can be received in a few as three business days.

The Bad

While Citizens Bank does not reveal a limit for a company’s annual revenue, both business and personal tax documents are required for loan applications. Financial statements and proof on ongoing revenue may be required as well. A credit score is also necessary, though there is not a cutoff number for that, either. Other requirements and limitations include:

Additional Requirements

Applying businesses must have been operating for at least 6 months, though for companies in certain industries, that time period could be much longer. In general, this is much lower than other banks. There is a one-time documentation fee of $250 for all loan types, and a $150 minimum annual fee for all lines of credit.

Missing Information

Other pieces of information Citizens Bank does not provide include the following:

  • Interest rates and APR
  • Term Length
  • Application requirements (credit score, time in business, current revenue)
  • Prepayment penalties

Service Area

There are only 19 states with physical Citizens Bank locations:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • *Washington D.C.

The Bottom Line

Citizens Bank is a well-established financial institution with a variety of basic lending services for small businesses. They are a preferred SBA lender and provide information, guidance, and help in applying for and securing SBA loans. They have reasonable turnaround times for loan applications and fund distribution, although they do not offer any unsecured funding. They charge a $250 documentation fee for loans and a $150 minimum annual fee for lines of credit.

*Star Rating is determined by evaluating APR range, minimum credit score requirement, revenue requirement, length in business requirement, and other related approval data.

More Information

For information on particular lending options and borrowing types, you will have to fill out an online form. Citizens Bank advertises six options for small businesses seeking borrowing options and solutions:

  • Mortgages
  • Term loans
  • Business flex loans
  • Line of credit
  • SBA loans
  • Credit cards

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