Freed from an enforcement order that had restricted its growth, Royal Bancshares Inc. in Narberth, Pa., has brought in a seasoned veteran to lead its expansion in small-business lending.

The $850 million-asset parent of Royal Bank of America announced Thursday that it has hired Ralph A. Citino as its senior vice president of small-business lending. Citino was most recently the small-business banking director at the $4.2 billion-asset WSFS Financial Corp. in Wilmington, Del., and has more than 20 years of lending experience in the Pennsylvania and Delaware markets.

Once primarily a commercial real estate lender, Royal Bank is now chiefly focused in building relationships "with the small and mid-sized businesses whose ideas and energy will drive job growth and development in our region," Royal Bancshares Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert R. Tabas said in a news release.

Citino's hiring comes roughly two weeks after state and federal regulators had terminated a two-year-old consent order that required Royal Bank America to decrease its level of problem loans, improve its capital ratios and strengthen its management.

The bank has also been shrinking its balance sheet as it continues to de-emphasize commercial real estate lending. Since Sept. 2009, its assets have declined by roughly one-third.

Royal Bank operates 14 branches in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey.

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