The so-called S-1 filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission did not reveal how many shares the lender plans to sell, or their expected price, but it is thought the final figure raised will be much higher once investment banks Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley gauge investor demand.
RBS confirmed last year that it would spin off the US division as it seeks to bolster its balance sheet and sell non-core assets.
Citizens is headed by chairman and chief executive Bruce Van Saun, the former finance director at its Edinburgh-based parent. The IPO filing showed he would be in line to receive more than $12m if the business is sold instead of floated and he is not kept on by its new owner in an equivalent position.
The paperwork also revealed that the firm’s former chief, Ellen Alemany, was paid almost $7.5m in salary and stock awards last year. That figure included $500,000 for providing “consulting services” for three months after she stepped down at the end of September.
Citizens, based in Rhode Island, has some 1,370 branches across 12 American states, concentrated in New England and the Midwest. RBS is being forced to dispose of the business as a condition of receiving a £45 billion bail-out at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said: “The divestment of Citizens is a key component of our plan to continue to strengthen RBS’s capital position. The achievement of our capital plan will allow us to focus fully on the needs of our customers.
“The filing of the Citizens S-1 is an important milestone that keeps us on track for the IPO of the business in the latter part of this year.”
RBS, which is 80 per cent owned by the UK government, has until the end of 2106 to dispose of Citizens, although it could be granted a 12-month extension if market conditions are unfavourable.