Introducing Citizens Bank: The New “Go To Bank” For Startups


Citizens Bank has announced the launch of a new venture banking practice called Citizens Private Bank. The bank aims to become the go-to bank for the innovation sector and is focused on serving startups and venture capitalists.

Key Takeaway

Citizens Bank has launched Citizens Private Bank, a venture banking practice aimed at serving the innovation sector. The bank hopes to fill the void left by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank by providing a familiar and supportive banking experience for startups and venture capitalists.


The decision to launch Citizens Private Bank comes in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in March, which sent shockwaves through the industry. SVB had played a significant role in supporting the startup ecosystem and its demise left a void that needed to be filled. First Republic Bank, where Sam Heshmati, head of emerging VC and innovation banking, had previously worked, was also affected by the crisis.

A Surge in Demand

When the regional banking crisis began, First Republic experienced a surge in demand as businesses sought to open new accounts and find a safe place for their money. Heshmati and his team at the bank had to quickly figure out how to handle the influx of new accounts without compromising compliance.

While some saw this surge in demand as a business opportunity, Heshmati knew better. Having witnessed the role that SVB had played in the ecosystem, he realized that the situation was not good. Eventually, First Republic itself collapsed and was bought by JPMorgan, leaving Heshmati to consider his next steps.

Choosing Citizens Bank

Heshmati conducted due diligence on several banks and ultimately chose to join Citizens Bank due to its commitment to the startup sector. Citizens Bank stood out as being the most excited and enthusiastic about building on the foundation that First Republic had laid. Heshmati believes that Citizens Bank has the potential to bring back the familiarity and support that SVB and First Republic provided for many years.

The Goals of Citizens Private Bank

With the launch of Citizens Private Bank, the bank aims to be the go-to bank for the innovation sector. It plans to integrate cash management solutions into the practice to address the changing needs of founders and investors in a post-crisis environment. The bank also wants to offer solutions that help companies and firms feel comfortable and mitigate risk.

Expansion and Future Plans

In addition to launching Citizens Private Bank, the bank is also opening a West Coast office and planning to add physical locations for its new private bankers. These offices will help connect the venture banking relationship with wealth management and loan programs for the GP/LP partner community.

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