Capital is a bankâ€™s lifeblood. But during the throes of the Great Recession, capital dried up as unemployment rose. This meant fewer loans to small businesses and less funding for economic development. â€śTheyâ€™re in the urban core and theyâ€™re providing financial services and products for people right in their community,â€ť says Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association. â€śThe banks are doing a great job, theyâ€™re doing what the regulators are requiring them to do and they want to do more lending, but they need capital to do that. They can always use more deposits and more capital.â€ť
Driven By Customers
Responding to those challenges, City Nationalâ€™s management developed a plan to land that much-needed capital by transitioning away from serving primarily as a real estate lender and moving toward serving as a community-focused provider of an array of financial services. â€śThat could be debt, equity, technical assistance, or intellectual capital,â€ť says Walter Bond, the bankâ€™s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. â€śWeâ€™re looking to bring capital to the marketplace thatâ€™s needed to turn around communities, and weâ€™re also looking to do it in a way that employs better risk management practices than you would [typically] have at a small or mid-sized bank.â€ť
To that end, City Nationalâ€™s board and management team took the following steps to rebrand the bank and increase its appeal to consumers:
â€˘ Updated the corporate logo. â€śWe looked at the legacy branding, which was good branding in its time, but banking itself has changed,â€ť says Pinkett. â€śSo we started a rebranding process with the launch of a more inclusive branding and logo.â€ť
â€˘ Introduced online banking. The bank previously had a static website that provided basic information. Itâ€™s now fully functional (www.citynatbank.com/). Customers can create and manage their accounts online. Online checking, savings, and budgeting were the first product introductions, which will soon be followed by personal finance tools, retirement planning, insurance, and annuities.
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