RBS Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., has become the latest banking company to use plain language to describe its checking account policies and procedures.
The $126 billion-asset company, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland, said Wednesday that the simplified, two-page document is designed to help its customers better understand account features, manage their accounts more effectively and avoid "being surprised" by overdrafts.
The simpler disclosures are modeled on guidance the Pew Charitable Trusts established in 2011 to help banks take the confusion out of checking accounts. Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), SunTrust Banks (STI) and Regions Financial (RF) are among the large and regional banks that have simplified checking account disclosures based on Pew's guidance.
RBS Citizens has roughly 1,400 branches in 12 states operating under the Citizens Bank and Charter One Bank brands. Apart from establishing plain language guidelines, the company has also set up a resource center on its website that includes videos and articles about how its customers can avoid paying overdraft fees.
"Too often, the terms, fees, and conditions of consumer checking accounts are hard to find, exposing customers to high, unexpected costs," Susan Weinstock, the director of Pew's safe checking research, said in a news release. "We applaud RBS Citizens Financial Group for providing its checking account holders with critical information in a clear format that will make important terms easier for current and future consumers to understand."