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Citizens seeks buyer for Charter One, report says

RBS Citizens Financial Group is reportedly preparing to auction off its Charter One Bank franchise in Chicago.

Citizens bought Charter One in 2004 for $10 billion. Today the franchise has $6 billion in deposits and operates more than 100 branches. Citizens has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to handle the sale of Charter One, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. A Citizens spokesman declined to comment on the report Friday.

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“Charter One was a troubled institution when they bought it,” said Richard Bove, a bank analyst and vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital. “It became another problem in a company that has a lot of problems.”

Citizens is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which was taken over by the British government in a bailout during the financial crisis. The Scottish bank has been pressured by British officials to sell Citizens to repay taxpayers.

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @tarynluna.
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