The Financial Times explores how recent banking turmoil underscores the importance of having an ownable brand name
Thursday, July 6, 2023 – The regional banking sector turbulence this past spring had banks of all sizes on alert for possible impacts on their own institutions. But what they may not have considered until now is that any association with troubled banks at the moment and in the future might be hiding in plain sight – right in their own names. In their article “What’s in a Name? A Lot of Confusion for Banks After SVB’s Failure,” the Financial Times explores that very topic, citing a “crisis of confusion” as other banks with similar names get swept up in the unrest.
One cogent example cited in the article was Pacific West, a regional lender in Portland. The financial institution has no relationship to Pacific Western Bank (also known as PacWest), which invests in startups like SVB and has seen its value plummet over the last six months. The assumed association not only interfered with an important leasing agreement for a new branch, it caused the lender Pacific West to place a disclaimer on their website to clarify that they’re not that Pacific West. But just how many banks have this kind of naming problem? More than you might think.
Interviewed for the Financial Times article, Adrenaline’s Chief Experience Officer Gina Bleedorn says there are a lot of banks struggling with their name. Take, for example, the name First National Bank. There are more than 230 of them scattered across the U.S. “Bank CEOs’ minds are literally blown when you tell them about same-named institutions,” Gina says. “Not just elsewhere in the U.S., but often in their own state.” The issue is becoming more acute as longtime institutions need to find new relevance in new markets.
“We have seen an uptick in renaming,” says Gina Bleedorn, who describes challenges for legacy-named banks in the wake of regional banking failures. “The recent turmoil has skyrocketed the need for brand relevance and willingness to change,” she says. Not only do banks need names that differentiate them from troubled institutions, but they need to reclaim their own identity to grow their influence. “Even small-town bank community CEOs and boards are now aware that brand reputation matters and is directly tied to business success.”
To learn more about renaming and rebranding strategies for your bank or credit union, or to speak with one of Adrenaline’s brand experience experts, contact us today. Be sure to also stay tuned in to Believe in Banking as it highlights industry news and views for banking leaders.
Adrenaline is an end-to-end brand experience company serving the financial industry. We move brands and businesses ahead by delivering on every aspect of their experience across digital and physical channels, from strategy through implementation. We create brands people love and engage audiences with story-led design and insights-driven marketing; and we design and build transformative brand experiences across branch networks, leading the construction of physical spaces that drive business advantage and make the brand experience real.