Two Fewer ‘First Federal’ Banks

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Two banks sharing the same name have both decided to shed their old ‘First Federal’ monikers. One is in Sioux City, Iowa, and the other is in Wabash, Indiana.

The Sioux City First Federal Bank changed to ‘Vantus Bank,’ while its Wabash counterpart opted for the safer and more familiar ‘Crossroads.

In this better-than-average press coverage of the Vantus name change, Vantus CEO Michael Dosland said, “We wanted a distinctive name that will minimize confusion and more closely reflect the unique value and service we offer our customers.”

The bank says it expects to spend about $800,000 to implement the name change, including consultants, marketing, a paid media campaign and new signage.

Weber Marketing Group developed the new Vantus name and brand. The foundation of the Vantus brand centers around the theme of ‘simplifying banking,’ summarized by the motto, “It’s that simple.”

In a Weber Marketing press release, the firm says, “’Vantus’ is derived from the word ‘advantage,’ and speaks to the unique benefits the bank offers its customers. The name is highly distinctive and differentiates it from other banks.”

Interestingly enough, the bank’s holding company, First Federal Bankshares, will keep its current name and will continue to use the ticker symbol FFSX on NASDAQ.

In this official press release, the CEO of the Wabash First Federal, “There are a number of competitors in our current and future markets who also use the ‘First Federal’ name,” said Roger Cromer, president and CEO. In fact, within a 50-mile radius of its main banking center in Wabash are three different banks—all with the First Federal name.”

The new motto for Crossroads Bank is “Where your money and your life meet: Crossroads Bank.” (Compared to the slogan for Crossroads Credit Union, “A Direction Worth Choosing.”)

This article notes that ‘Crossroads’ is indeed a common name that may cause some of the same problems as ‘First Federal’:

  • Although it isn’t common in northeast Indiana, the name ‘Crossroads Bank’ isn’t unique. A financial institution based in Effingham, Ill., has the same designation.
  • ‘Crossroads’ also is part of the name of several well-known local and national organizations. The most recognizable instance in the local market is Crossroad/Fort Wayne Children’s Home, a non-profit treatment center for emotionally troubled youth.
  • Just up the road CrossRoads RV Inc. employs more than 650 people.
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The CU Name wrote about another ‘Crossroads’ financial institution a few months ago.

The CEO of Crossroads estimated his bank’s costs, including advertising, at between $100,000 and $125,000 — “a significant amount” for the bank, which has $300 million in assets.

There’s another article about First Federal becoming ‘Crossroads’.

Along with the name change on to Crossroads, the Wabash bank is celebrating with a 45-day sales event:

  • Gifts for new accounts opened
  • Special CD offer
  • Free ATM services on selected products
  • No closing costs on mortgages applied

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