America Supports You: Financial Group Honored for Support of Troops
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2005 Defense officials recently honored Citizens Financial Group, based in Rhode Island, for strong support of employees who are also members of the National Guard and Reserves.
At an Oct. 15 ceremony here, the company was among 15 employers to receive a Freedom Award from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a DoD agency committed to helping companies support their Guard and Reserve employees.
"We were thrilled to be honored with this, and proud and glad that our employees and others see us as taking good care of them," William Wray, executive vice president and chief information officer of Citizens Financial Group, said. "We just feel like we're doing for our colleagues who are serving what we try to do ... for our colleagues who aren't serving."
Wray said the bank provides the difference between the servicemembers' civilian and military pay for the duration of active-duty stints. Citizens also provides up to five consecutive days of paid leave before deployments. The bank will also pay up to $500 toward any necessary travel, he said.
The bank's military employees can also count on continuation of medical and life insurance and, of course, returning to their same or a comparable job, Wray said.
Wray said he's a bit baffled by the attention the company has received for supporting its military members.
"To be honest, we think that this should be a standard," he said. "I think it's certainly special, but it's the kind of approach we try to take in all of our benefits, not just in those related to the military.
"We're very pleased to have been honored, but we're proud of our colleagues and their families who've been serving and who've been supporting those who've gone to serve," Wray said. "We think it's the least we can do, and we'll do it as long as we need to continue to."