Bank Didn't Need Another Name Change
Published February 02, 2005
To: Scott McLean, president, Southwest Bank of Texas
Dear Mr. McLean,
I’ve only lived in Baytown for four-and-a-half years, and I’ve already banked at Citizens Bank and Trust, Southwest Bank of Texas and, beginning March 7, I understand that I’ll be banking at Amegy Bank.
I’ve never changed banks. The bank keeps changing names.
The first name change resulted from a merger that ended the 80-year Baytown tradition of Citizens Bank. The most recent name change came about for several reasons, not the least of which is because someone in your company decided the bank’s name should reflect the company’s “dynamism.”
I had a few reactions when I learned about this. First, I had to look up “dynamism” in the dictionary to make sure it is an actual word. It sounds like an intestinal disorder. But Webster says it means “a theory that all phenomena can be explained as manifestations of force.” It’s also a “dynamic or expansionist quality.”
Next, I tried looking up “Amegy.” I didn’t find it. I did, however, find “amebic dysentery,” which, interestingly enough, is an intestinal disorder. Here’s what you had to say about the origins of the new bank name: “Amegy is a coined word that reflects the ‘energy’ of the people of ‘America.’”
I didn’t need to look up the word “coined.” I know it means “made up.”
I also understand that Amegy will be launching a series of high-energy (there’s that word again) radio and television commercials to help with the transition.
Since when did “energy” become such a crucial element in banking? I’ve never heard anyone say, “I switched banks because my old one just didn’t have enough energy.” The only energy I need, as far as my banking is concerned, is enough to get me out of bed and into the bank drive-through with my husband’s paycheck every Monday morning.
English is a fine language. Was there really no existing word suitable for your financial institution? Personally, I’m not looking for energy in a bank. You know what I like in a bank? I like the free popcorn on Fridays in the lobby. So why not “Free Popcorn Bank?” I’d also like a bank that doesn’t send back little pieces of paper at the drive-through trying to get me to sign up a friend for a checking account. Isn’t that your bank’s job? How about “The We-Won’t-Trash-Up-Your-Car-With-Little-Pieces-of-Paper Bank?”
If I seem a little cranky, the news of your bank’s name change came out the same day I read the results of a Swedish study on kissing. It seems that during a typical French kiss, more than 40,000 parasites and 250 types of bacteria are exchanged. I figure that in 11 years of marriage, my husband and I have exchanged close to 200 million parasites. I’m in a deep state of gross-out right now, and it’s made me a little testy.
The good news is that your bank’s new name has inspired me. I’d like to change my own name to reflect qualities for which I’d like to be known.
From now on, I’d like to be known as “Smute.”
“Smute” is a coined word that reflects how smart and cute I am. Please address all correspondence accordingly.
Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.