What Should You Know About the Credit Union Naming Process?

Sean Galli
What Should You Know About the Credit Union Naming Process?

Names are important for so many reasons. But despite their importance, many credit unions don’t undertake name change projects.


One reason may be the credit union naming process intimidates them. It seems like a lot of work, and concrete business results are unclear. Well, it’s time to shine a light on it!

Here are the five things you should know about the credit union naming process:


1. You Start with Strategy


Everything you do loops back around to your strategy…including your credit union naming process. Choosing to perform a name change must fit your long-term strategic goals. The name itself must help you reach those goals.

Before you ever get to the name development piece, you need to examine: 

  • Your brand vision
  • Your brand messaging
  • Your target demographics
  • Your competitors’ brands
  • Your market’s economy

Each factor affects your credit union naming process in a different way. Solidifying your brand vision and messaging ensures a new name is internally consistent with your culture. Researching your target demographics and economy will help you attract the members most necessary to your growth. For example, you wouldn’t choose a highbrow name for blue collar demographics in a poorer county.

Neglect these strategic factors at your peril. Sure, you can come up with a name without them. It’ll just be the wrong name.


2. You Need Options…A Lot of Them


After your strategy is clear, you need name options. And you need both quantity and quality. Such a wide field of name candidates helps you make the best possible decision during your credit union naming process. 

Typically, you should have 30 to 50 names to review (that’s the number our team provides). There’s the quantity portion. But these aren’t just random words thrown at the wall to see what sticks. Presented names are unique and rigorously voted on so the credit union only receives the best options. Every name receives a description too. Every name has a purpose.

Generally, your credit union naming process results in several name categories. These might include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Legacy-inspired names
  • Member-focused names
  • Insightful names

3. Choose Something Truly Unique


The prior section mentioned the credit union naming process generates unique options. How? The answer: vigorous vetting.

Any name options need a Google search and US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) search to avoid copying anyone else’s name. Become truly distinctive. Don’t be like so many institutions named “First Bank of [insert state name]” or some slight variation on it.

You can also choose to trademark your name with the USPTO as part of the credit union naming process. This is a lengthier endeavor but obviously keeps the name unique to your credit union.


4. Express Your Name Visually


The credit union naming process necessitates a new logo and visual guidelines. Chances are high your old logo and new name won’t mix given the amount of strategic thought behind the new name.

Create a logo to visually reflect your name. Texas Coastal Community CU changed their name to Common Cents CU, resulting in a logo change reflective of the name. Their old logo simply wouldn’t have made sense anymore.

Your credit union naming process will also cover how the name looks on marketing materials, shortened versions of the name, logo placement and so on to accurately express your new name.


5. Establish Staff Buy-In


Lastly, your credit union naming process must include staff training. Your employees sell the name to your members. They live the values your name represents. Without them, the name is a non-starter.

Explain a few things to your staff: 

  • Why you changed the name
  • Why you selected the name you did
  • How the name change affects their jobs
  • How the name change enhances your brand

Making your staff a part of your credit union naming process will make the implementation of your name much more effective.


Did this help illuminate the steps of the credit union naming process? Even if it did, a name change can still be a large project. On The Mark Strategies’ branding experts guide you through the project, helping your credit union find the right name for your next growth stage.

Book a free consultation today to reach more of your market.

Sean Galli
Marketing Coordinator