Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., has expanded its health care practice banking group to three additional states.

The $127 billion-asset company said Wednesday that the unit, which works with medical, dental and eye care practices and professionals, is now making loans in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The health care division began making loans in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island last year.

"Given the size and importance of the health care sector and our track record of helping health care practices succeed and grow, our health care practice banking group is uniquely positioned to meet the special challenges and financial requirements of medical, dental and eye care practices," Quincy Miller, president of business banking for Citizens, said in a press release.

Citizens has added three lenders, with a combined 65 years of experience, to its health care banking team. They are: John K. Leister, who joins Citizens from 3-D Financial Services; Bryan T. Murphy, who was most recently managed dental and veterinary accounts for Bank of America; and Benjamin N. Foltz, a former health care lender at PNC Financial Services Group and Wells Fargo.

Many banks have been beefing up in health care lending of late as they look to diversify their loan portfolios and find new sources of revenue. Others include Regions Financial, Huntington Bancshares, KeyCorp, Pacific Continental in Eugene, Ore., and United Community Banks in Blairsville, Ga.

Last year Citizens' parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, said it would spin off Citizens and use the proceeds from the sale largely to repay the British government for bailing it out at the height of the financial crisis. RBS filed for the unit's initial public offering in May. Citizens is expected to be fully independent by 2016.

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