Here’s a recap of 10 recent name changes in the retail banking sector — what they picked and why — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Credit union defies convention with ‘Logix’
Previous Name: Lockheed Federal Credit Union
New Name: Logix
Reason for Change: Previous name suggested the credit union was exclusive to Lockheed employees only.
“Even with all the advertising we do, the reader sees the name Lockheed and does not bother to read the copy,” said credit union President/CEO David Styler.
The credit union said it chose the name Logix because it is distinctive, memorable, and suggests a smarter, more logical banking choice. The new name also comes with the tagline “smarter banking.” You’ll notice the new logo doesn’t include the words “credit union” anywhere — just the name and the slogan.
Weber Marketing Group of Seattle provided the naming and branding package.
There’s only room for one Bank in the West… well, maybe two
Previous Name: Bank of the West
New Name: WestStar Bank
Reason for Change: Trademark infringement – eliminate confusion with a larger Bank of the West in San Francisco.
Apparently, this name change was preemptive. The SF-based Bank of the West didn’t make any demands, according to officials with WestStar Bank. It will be the only bank in the United States operating under the WestStar name, the bank claims. WestStar will retain the trademark “W” that’s been used for years in the current Bank of the West logo. FYI – There’s still at least one other Bank of the West operating in Texas.
The Future is ‘Alive’
Previous Name: Healthcare’s Cooperative Credit Union
New Name: Alive Credit Union
Reason for Change: To maximize a community charter by broadening the credit unions appeal with a wider audience, beyond just those working in health care.
The new name was chosen in light of the financial institution’s association with the health care industry. The name, along with the tagline, “Bank Healthier. Live Happier” will be rolling out starting summer 2012. Working with branding firm NewGround, the credit union’s board of directors approved the name change last summer.
Making ‘Federal’ an issue
Previous Name: Hamilton Federal Bank
New Name: Hamilton Bank
Reason for Change: CEO Robert DeAlmeida said the previous name made people think of Hamilton as a bank for their first home loan but not as a place for a loan to expand their business. “We thought it was time to dust off our image,” DeAlmeida explained.
The bank is spending $300,000 on the new name, logo, tagline, website and signs.
Texas bank’s brand ‘Vantage’
Previous Name: San Antonio National Bank
New Name: Vantage Bank Texas
Reason for Change: Previous no longer reflected the bank’s geographic service area.
“We are extremely proud of that name because we put significant work, energy and thought into choosing a name that better represents not only who we are, but who we want to be,” explained Guy Bodine, the bank’s chairman, CEO and president. “It’s literally a brand that better represents the geography that we serve.”
‘Bell’ tolls for generic moniker
Previous Name: State Bank & Trust
New Name: Bell State Bank
Reason for Change: Previous name was way too plain.
Considering the previous name was as generic as they come, this bank just took a giant leap forward. They kept the trees from their previous logo.
Why “Bell State Bank?” Last year, State Bank & Trust purchased a new subsidiary, Bell Mortgage. Bell State Bank is easy to spell, say and remember, so why not?
Credit union goes interstate with ‘Commerce’
Previous Name: Florida Commerce Credit Union
New Name: First Commerce Credit Union
Reason for Change: Geographically limiting – facilitate expansion into neighboring states.
There are 110 credit unions whose name starts with “First,” four in Florida alone. Another 21 credit union have start with the word “1st” (one in FL). That’s 2% of all credit unions sharing the same first name. The credit union coulda/shoulda picked another, more unique moniker, but ease-of-transition was clearly a top priority. All they had to do was swap the word “First” for “Florida.” Both the logo and tagline are remaining the same to provide continuity.
Leaving ‘Las Vegas’
Previous Name: The Bank of Las Vegas
New Name: Southwest Capital Bank
Reason for Change: Previous name was geographically limiting.
The institution was founded in 1890 as The Las Vegas Savings Bank. It’s last — and only other — name change (if you can call it that) was back in 1965, but they just shuffled words around to The Bank of Las Vegas. This recent name change represents a bigger shift — both semantically and strategically — although the new name is rather bland. While the new name may be a more accurate reflection (or description) of the bank today, it’s too bad they couldn’t find a way to make their existing name work, with all its Vegas cache. Perhaps they felt that was too much of a gamble? You’ll notice they carried a piece of the old logo forward in the new design.
Clean slate and a fresh start
Previous Name: First Midwest Bank
New Name: One American Bank
Reason for Change: The bank came under new ownership in March 2011. The CEO said they wanted to start out fresh with a clean slate and new name.
There’s a much larger First Midwest Bank with 100 branches in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. And Iowa is right next door to South Dakota, where the newly named “One American” is based. Trademark issues likely played a roll in this name change decision.
New name for all of New Hampshire
Previous Name: Laconia Savings Bank
New Name: Bank of New Hampshire
Reason for Change: Previous name was geographically limited, and did not adequately reflect the bank’s full range of services.
The bank offers a more robust suite of services than a mere “savings bank” connotes. The new Bank of New Hampshire name seems more appropriately suited to an institution offering commercial, wealth management and trust services.
“The change really just reflects what we have become, a statewide bank,” said bank spokesperson Vickie Routhier. That may be true, but what will the bank become tomorrow? Why not stay one step ahead and pick a name that’s more future-proof?