Photo by James Sanna | Commercial Record staff

Providence-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. plans to acquire an online college planning platform that the bank said would strengthen its ability to advise prospective college students.

Citizens said in a statement yesterday that it has agreed to acquire Iowa-based College Raptor Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The bank said it is looking at closing the transaction in the fourth quarter.

Founded in 2012, College Raptor offers a college planning platform that matches prospective students to suitable schools based on academics and finances. It also offers tools to help prospective students evaluate and select a college, including side-by-side comparisons of estimated aid packages, scores that indicate how well a college matches the student’s situation, and admission chances.

“The acquisition of College Raptor offers unique opportunities to engage with prospective college students and their families as they navigate the college search and selection process,” Chris Ebeling, executive vice president and head of student lending at Citizens, said in the statement. “This innovative platform further strengthens our ability to provide personalized advice and insights during this important stage of their lives, while also bolstering our commitment to financial empowerment. We are committed to providing our younger generation of customers with the digital support and services they need throughout their financial journey.”

When the transaction closes, College Raptor will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens, the statement said.

“College Raptor’s mission is to empower students and their families as they plan their college journey, and this combination will deepen our capabilities while connecting users with a best-in-class financial partner,” Bill Staib, CEO and co-founder of College Raptor, said in the statement. “Together with Citizens, we look forward to expanding our platform and offering families a richer and more valuable overall experience to help them realize their educational and financial dreams.”

Citizens offers several lending and refinance products for students, graduates and parents.

“Citizens is a longtime advocate for financial empowerment and reaches families through innovative partnerships in the communities it serves,” the statement said. “This acquisition will continue those efforts by providing education and resources to help people make informed financial decisions.”