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    Citizens Bank, Stop & Shop Extend Partnership

    Their agreement calls for 18 more branches to open by the end of the year.

    At a time when many banks are declining to open branches in supermarkets, citing costs and limited space, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Citizens Financial Group, Inc. have renewed at least through 2017 their partnership to operate bank branches at the grocery store chain. The extension of the partnership combines several existing lease deals in various states.

    Confirming a report in the Boston Globe, Citizens spokesman Mike Jones told Progressive Grocer, "We believe in the in-store banking model and will continue to focus on it," adding that it was a good way to provide value to customers.

    Scotland-based Citizens Financial Group, the parent company of Citizens Bank, operates 152 branches in Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York.

    The partnership began in 2000, with a Citizens bank in a Rhode Island Stop & Shop. The bank now has agreements with 28 other retailers, among them Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle. Stop & Shop additionally has a smaller number of other banks in stores in places where Citizens doesn't have locations, such as areas of Connecticut and in Baltimore.

    According to Citizens, the bank plans to put 18 more branches in Stop & Shop locations by the end of the year, citing as one reason for the expansion the fact that on average, in-store branches open 30 percent more new household checking accounts than traditional retail branches.

    Neither Stop & Shop nor Citizens would divulge the financial terms of the new deal.

    Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop is an Ahold USA banner.

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