It’s no wonder that many people in South Texas thought they had to be in the military to bank with NavyArmy Community Credit Union, given its name.
“I thought that myself at first,” says Bryan Stone, who chairs its board of directors.
But the credit union, which is the fifth-largest in Texas with just over $4 billion of assets, has had a community charter that allows it to serve people across eight counties since 2003.
In the hope of finally ending the confusion, it launched a new name in March 2023 — Rally Credit Union — along with a new tagline, “Banking for All.”
The name is a nod to its military roots (think “Rally the troops!”), but also suits the credit union from a culture perspective.
The Financial Rebrand:
Rally Credit Union
“When they came up with the name ‘Rally,’ it was so exciting because one of the unique features about NavyArmy and its employees and what we do is we rally together. We do it every single day,” Virginia Whitham, the credit union’s chief human resources officer, says in a video explaining the rebrand. Whitham also cites Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the Covid-19 pandemic as examples of when NavyArmy “rallied” with the community.
The Strategy Behind the Rebranding Effort
Credit union executives first discussed the idea of rebranding in 2019, kicking off what would be three years of board discussion, focus group input and consumer surveys.
Part of the goal was to pay homage to its longtime identity — to have elements of the new branding that felt familiar but fresh, rather than entirely different.
To that end, Rally Credit Union incorporated NavyArmy’s dark blue into its color scheme. The new logo also echoes back to the past by merging “the ribbon (a tie to our military roots), the forward arrow (a nod to our former branding symbol), and the “R” from Rally,” the credit union explains on its website. The typeface changed only slightly.
“We didn’t want our members to assume we had been acquired, sold, or bought out,” says Brandye Maldonado, the credit union’s brand manager.
The credit union, which is based in Corpus Christi, Texas, worked with its hometown agency, MDR Advertising, on the rebranding campaign.
“We saw MDR as a natural fit for this transition. They have been our partner for over 19 years in some capacity or another,” says Maldonado. “They know our history, our members, and our story.”
Time to ‘Rally’ Members Behind the Name Change
NavyArmy Community Credit Union told its 200,000 members that a rebranding was afoot in September 2022 and shared the new name with them in November. New branch signage started appearing in January.
Maldonado says Rally has finished rebranding the exterior of its 20 branches, and the next phase will be more expansive interior redesigns. Members also will see new contactless and physical debit card designs as their current debit cards expire.
Rally became the official name on February 15, the day after the credit union’s 67th annual meeting. The effort to increase market awareness — the “brand launch,” as Rally calls it — began the following month.
This isn’t the first time that the credit union has gotten a new name. When it opened in 1955, it was called Naval Employees Corpus Christi Federal Credit Union. It simplified that to “Navy Army” in 1988 and became “NavyArmy Community” in 2012.
Initially the credit union’s membership had been restricted to only employees from the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. But it got a new charter in 2003, opening up membership to all of Aransas, Bee, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces, and San Patricio counties.
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Overcoming the Credit Union’s Membership Misconception
Adding the word “Community” to its name a decade ago did not eliminate confusion about membership eligibility. No matter how much the credit union grew, the misconception persisted, says Dana Sisk, Rally’s chief executive officer.
The credit union’s research showed that nearly a quarter of current and former members still thought you had to be in the military or a veteran to join, says Sisk, a longtime employee who moved into the top job this spring after the rebrand rolled out. (The former CEO, Gerry Morrow, retired after 18 years.)
“We want everyone to know very clearly that we love our military, but it’s not a membership requirement,” Sisk says. “If you live, work, worship, or go to school in south Texas, you belong here.”