Earlier this month, we alerted you to the big acquisition which will greatly expand Chicago’s third largest bank, Harris Bank, and make it an Illinois/Wisconsin powerhouse! (see http://icedjamb.com/personal-finance-in-chicago/big-chicago-bank-gets-bigger , as well as http://icedjamb.com/personal-finance-in-chicago/big-chicago-bank-merger-part-ii).
When I contacted Jim Kappel (the Vice President for Corporate Communications at Harris Bank here in Chicago) he graciously received my many questions and offered his helpful and authoritative answers, which I share below.
Regarding the major change in the Harris Bank “brand” to “BMO Harris Bank, N.A.”, Jim assured me that the brand change was a very thoughtful and well-researched change, which sprang from the crucible of marketing analysis and customer surveys:
“With BMO Harris Bank, our objective is to convey to our customers that the full, integrated resources of the BMO Financial Group will be available to them, while retaining the recognition of Harris Bank as a trusted advisor for personal and commercial clients and the strong reputation for customer commitment that has long defined both Harris and M&I. Following our announcement to acquire M&I, we looked carefully at how to best present the combined Harris and M&I operations in the context of BMO Financial Group’s longer term goals in the U.S. At the same time, we have also been working to ensure that we align every capability of the combined bank to our customer promise. BMO Harris Bank tested strongly and resonated with customers.”
In other words, all Harris customers will be blessed with the resources of a much larger financial institution, which stands ready to serve their needs through the 21st century. The survey of current Harris customers indicated a strong positive response to “BMO Harris Bank”.
Building on the above, Jim went on to elaborate further:
“The combined bank will be the 12th largest commercial bank by assets in the U.S.! … [therefore] This transaction is good news for both companies’ shareholders, customers, employees and communities. It will position the organization with the capital strength and scale to enhance its commitment to customers and communities. Over time, customers will gain access to new products and services, as the best of each bank is made available to the combined operation.”
In an attempt to reassure all of those who may be concerned about Harris Bank’s ongoing commitment to local involvement and support, Jim offered this:
“We will continue and strengthen the proud tradition of commitment to customers and community that both organizations have established over so many years.”
Jim helpfully clarified the timeline for the signage changes which will be visible to those passing by Harris Bank facilities:
“For many of our branches, new signage will not be installed until the systems of M&I and Harris have been integrated, which could take 12-18 months after closing to complete. However, at close, the BMO Harris Bank legal name will appear in documents and on postings in branches.”
Finally, the most IMPORTANT note about this change… HUBERT (“the Harris lion”) will live on!
“Hubert has been an important part of our history and will continue to represent us at numerous civic, community and employee events. Ever since Hubert became a part of the Harris family in 1957, he has been a community symbol and is still loved today.”
Thank heavens for that! I have known and loved Hubert since my childhood, and my own kids, as well, have enjoyed him through the years!