Citizens names consumer banking, customer experience chiefs

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Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., said Tuesday that it will promote one executive to lead its consumer banking unit and another to a newly created role early next year.

Brendan Coughlin, currently head of consumer deposits and lending, will become head of consumer banking on Jan. 27. Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun highlighted Coughlin’s role in establishing the $164.4 billion-asset bank’s merchant point-of-sale financing partnerships and its education-refinance business.

“His focus on driving innovation and improving the customer experience has directly contributed to the strong growth of our consumer business, and I look forward to his further contributions as leader of our consumer bank,” Van Saun said in a news release.

Coughlin will succeed Brad Conner, who is scheduled to retire from Citizens on March 3. During his time at Citizens, Conner oversaw the launch of its digital deposit-gathering effort Citizens Access and also served a term as chairman of the Consumer Bankers Association.

Citizens also announced that Beth Johnson, currently chief marketing officer and head of virtual channels, will become the bank’s first chief experience officer, also on Jan. 27. Johnson was recently named one of American Banker’s Women to Watch.

Van Saun said in the announcement that Johnson had already worked on developing Citizens’ digital, data and marketing capabilities. In her new role, she will lead a team that builds upon that work in an effort to improve customer experience, he said.

Both Johnson and Coughlin will report directly to Van Saun.

At an industry conference in New York on Tuesday, Van Saun also said that Citizens is considering how it might broaden Citizens Access. The bank could consider offering business savings accounts, checking accounts or digital lending products, next, he said.

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