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360 View | Growing Local Banks in the Millennial Market

Merger creates naming hassles for TD

TD merger triggers lawsuit; landmark stadium needs renaming

TD Banknorth Garden

Renaming Boston’s Garden

TD Banknorth Garden logoThe merger between TD Banknorth and Commerce Bank means the name of ‘TD Banknorth Garden’ will probably have to change.

“For sure the ‘Garden’ will remain there, and what version of ‘TD’ goes in front of it is the question,” said Bharat Masrani, TD Banknorth’s chief executive. Good call, because Celtics fans might close their accounts if you messed with their venerable ‘Garden.’

Changing the Garden’s name could cost $1 million or more, and that’s just for signs and graphics inside and outside the building.

As far as the bank goes, you can probably guess what its new name will be, especially considering TD’s history with naming. (Hints: TD Waterhouse, TD Ameritrade, TD Banknorth, TD Canada Trust.)

Okay, enough suspense. The new moniker will be ‘TD Commerce.’ Jennifer Carlson, public affairs officer for TD said the bank’s branding team did a thorough analysis, deciding that combining ‘TD’ with ‘Commerce’ is “the best of both worlds.”

But hold on a second…

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Another ‘Commerce’ Sues

There’s already Commerce Bank & Trust in Massachussets, one of the states TD Banknorth is in. When they heard TD Banknorth was thinking about ‘TD Commerce’ as a new name, Commerce Bank & Trust figured they had to sue.

“We have no choice.
This is a tremendous risk.”
Brian Thompson, CEO
Commerce Bank & Trust

“We have no choice. This is a tremendous risk to us,” said Commerce Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Thompson in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “A name is everything in banking. It’s what you promote and it’s how you identify yourself.”

Commerce Bank & Trust has $1 billion in assets, 11 branches, and they’ve been around since 1955. Just the same, Commerce Bank & Trust would have a stronger case if they had a federally registered trademark on file with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It doesn’t look like they do.

TD filed its trademark application for ‘TD Commerce’ on March 19, 2008.

Commerce Bank logoNew Name Gets Old Tagline

The name change carries forward Commerce Bank’s slogan: “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” To support the tagline, TD is extending the hours of its Banknorth branches.

Also supporting the “most convenient” tagline is the newly combined branch network canvassing the east coast: 460 branches from Commerce and 600 from TD Banknorth.

The Times Union reports that the bank will underake an interior and exterior “rebranding effort” at all of its 1,100 branches. The bank also said it will launch a multimillion-dollar campaign to introduce the new name to consumers, including television, print, online and in-store advertising.

TD acquired the New Jersey-based Commerce Bank back in November for $8.5 billion. Commerce has $48 billion in assets. TD Banknorth, based in Portland, Maine, has $40 billion in assets, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of TD Bank Financial Group of Toronto.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the update Marc.

    Not much of a surprise. Still, I wonder how the Commerce Bank that TD bought feels about this. I bet they’re somewhere between bummed and pissed.

    You know for a fact that the management team of the 11-branch Commerce that filed suit against TD is doing backflips today, chanting “Victory for us little guys!”

  2. Problem solved? Story from today’s (7/23) Philadelphia Business Journal announcing the demise of the Vernon Hill-built/NJ based “Commerce” brand name.

    Commerce Bank buyer dropping ‘Commerce’ name over legal challenge
    Philadelphia Business Journal

    Because of a legal challenge, the brand name emerging from the merger between Commerce Bank and TD Banknorth has been changed to TD Bank rather than the TD Commerce Bank name announced this past spring.

    The company will keep the “America’s Most Convenient Bank” phrase that Commerce used.

    In May, a federal court in New England provisionally prevented the company from using the TD Commerce Bank name on signage and marketing materials in certain Massachusetts counties. The Commerce Bank & Trust Co. of Worcester, Mass., had filed a lawsuit challenging the use of the TD Commerce name in its markets.

    “In our view, the well-recognized TD name combined with Commerce Bank clearly distinguished us from other banks with Commerce in their name,” TD Banknorth CEO Bharat Masrani said. “We’re disappointed that the court felt differently, but rather than spend countless time as well as valuable resources fighting this legal challenge in court, we have decided to remain focused on our customers and employees and move forward under our new brand name of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank.”

    TD Banknorth’s parent, Toronto-based TD Bank Financial Group, bought Commerce Bancorp of Cherry Hill, N.J., in March for $8.5 billion. Commerce is located in the mid-Atlantic region and Florida with nearly 500 branches. The Commerce name, which has been synomymous with a customer-friendly retail strategy, will no longer exist when the bank formally changes its name this fall.

    TD Bank Financial said the combined bank will still follow its original schedule for a comprehensive re-branding effort for its 1,100 combined branch network. Current Commerce branches will be the first to rebrand as TD Bank this fall and current TD Banknorth locations will finish re-branding in 2009.

    In addition, the company will announce a new name for the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston by the end of 2008, with re-branding activities taking place in 2009.

    Bank officials said branches will continue to have the same extended hours. The bank has dual headquarters in Cherry Hill and TD Banknorth’s original headquarters of Portland, Maine. The combined bank has $119 billion in assets in nearly 1,100 branches from Maine to Florida.

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