Tom Garrity

CU Gibberish

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Ol MacDonald Credit Union

When picking up a race packet for a weekend 10K, I noticed a variety of things. A nice pen/stylus with the name of the event sponsor, a map of the course as well as promotions for a local restaurant and health club. Oh, there was also a brochure for Kasasa.

Kasa what?

Evidently, this is a trend for banks and credit unions. Instead of increasing relevance the old fashioned way by earning the customer’s trust, at least 230 credit unions across the United States (according to the ABQJournal) decided it would be best to confuse their customer by changing their institutions’ names to made up words.

What is a made up word? It is the letter version of “word salad”, gibberish. The kind of word that is not allowed in “Words with Friends.“

This article in The Financial Brand outlines a few of the gibberish heros. Comstar changed their name to an anagram of money, NYMEO. Another was Wynadotte FCU (which is one of the more challenging to spell) that changed to NuPath.

Recently, a credit union I use, changed their name from New Mexico Educators FCU to NUSENDA Credit Union. I first heard about the change through twitter then called my commercial banker to find out what the name change was all about. Was it a merger or acquisition? Are there any new services or member benefits? Does it mean that new branches are going to open near me? Is the artificial sweetener Splenda at play? Or was it a computer hack and all a bad dream?

The answer, “it was just a name change.” Really? A name change brought to us by the same industry that took years to depart from neck ties to open collared shirts because it was concerned the move might be seen as “radical” decides to change their name to a made up word?

It was either a so-called “branding expert” or a focus group gone wild that resulted in names like Kasasa, Nusenda and Nymeo.

Here is some free advice for any CEO considering a name change to either a made up or existing word: first focus on improving customer service and increasing relevance to your community. If things don’t turn around change your name or sell the business.

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