World’s Most Inconvenient Bank

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Commerce Bank, a regional bank that started over 10 years ago, has recently merged with another bank and changed its name accordingly. This is standard practice for banks especially in this economic climate. Merging and acquiring shouldn’t be that jarring but it does pose a lot of holes where important things can fall through. The opportunity is there to beef up customer service and quality assurance, brace for impact and WOW current customers. This is not something Commerce/Metro Bank is doing right now.

Not-so amazing service is killing Metro Bank.
Not-so amazing service is killing Metro Bank.

Commerce proudly touted itself as the World’s Most Convenient Bank, and it was. They had hours unheardof in the banking industry. They had options and freebies unsurpassed by competitors. Banking with Commerce was convenient and that’s what created the brand and made people believe in it. It was a real branding case study as it superseded the creative and entered into the top-down branding model necessary for winning brands.

Commerce changed it’s name and brand completely in the last week when they started enacting their rebrand. Overnight they became the world’s most INCONVENIENT bank.

With customer service on hold times upwards of four hours, inability to log into online banking portals, poor design for the new brand, and a slew of financial messups in actual accounts, Metro Bank is not carrying the torch with convenience by any means.

This post could go on for hours, but let’s cut to the chase. If you are rebranding and launching a new name consider these points:

1. How can the positive aspects of the previous brands be effectively leveraged? In Commerce / Metro Bank’s case, how can we reinforce convenience?

2. Staff up customer service and brace for impact. People are going to be pissed. Change is good, but it’s also scary especially with banking. Make sure customer service is ready to take calls and handle situations, conveniently.

3. Take the opportunity to push the brand forward creatively. Look the look so you can reinforce the trust in the brand. Banks HAVE to look trustworthy and graphic design is the first point of contact. It better be good. We are watching.

4. Get your finger on the pulse and respond. Log onto Facebook and Twitter. Keep an eye out for your brand name and respond to complaints, divert possible upevil, and add another aspect of convenience to your brand. Allow people to complain openly and fix the problems or at least communicate with your brand followers.

The Commerce Bank – Metro Bank conversion is a case study of how NOT to launch a new brand. I am afraid they have lost a lot of customers. I am one of them.

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7 Responses

  1. yet another great blog Joseph. I personally never banked with them considering I just moved here and they were not available in the State College maket (or at least I do not think they were), but I do know a couple of collegues that do bank with them, and the Monday after the “rebranding” began was a nightmare to all of them. And the new look reminds me of a branding project that a group of 5th graders would come up with. Terrible!! I cannot believe a bigger bank can possibly allow this to happen, especially considering the state of the economy right now, and the customers need to rely on a good bank. You are correct……They really struck out on this one.

  2. It’s funny how their new name ‘Metro’ really does say it all. They are just out of touch with central Pennsylvanians. I actually have been banking with Commerce Bank for many years, and this acquisition has come to me as a surprise. I actually had to drag it out of a teller several months ago.

    They obviously knew this was not going to have a positive impact and were completely unprepared. They were basically ready to turn the lights off, throw the new brand up, then turn them back on hoping people would never know the difference. Someone obviously didn’t want this to happen.

    Thanks for the funny!
    JB

  3. @Kris – I wasn’t too fond of the “C” logo, but had to admit it was one of the better bank logos in the area. Seeing what has developed with this “M” and how it’s been executed throughout signage and even on the deposit slips makes me choke. It’s ridiculous and everyone at the bank should be ashamed from the CEO down to every teller. At least the “C” logo was semi-integrated.

    @Jeff – I hear you. I don’t think a single marketing person has step foot in this area. I have been hearing a lot of anger towards this move. It was an opportunity to shed the garbage New Jersey put out as marketing for Commerce, and take it up a couple notches. Instead, it looks like absolute tripe.

  4. Don’t know if you knew it, but… OUR commerce (now metro) was a Franchise, just like a McDonalds! (The only bank franchise I ever heard of by the way). When TD bought Commerce (the one out of NJ… the franchisor) they killed the franchise agreement. That included all the software (both website and in the office). They had to go to new systems for everything. Personally, I think it’s the reason NOT to buy a franchise, your at the mercy of the parent corp. In this case, our Commerce (now Metro) got screwed. I use them, and I know they had problems last weekend (and early last week). But, things seem to have straightend out… As far as I’m concerned, they are MUCH better then my old bank. Great hours, friendly tellers and managers. I don’t plan on going anywhere else.

  5. Good note Brett. You are right on the situation’s ins and outs and franchising is always a little sketchy which is why one should research heavily before deciding on a franchise. In banking, it seems ridiculous because they will inevitably be bought out.

    Commerce’s move to Metro isn’t the problem. The problem is they did not uphold their brand of “most convenient bank” during the transition. Exorbitantly long wait times, the online portal completely unusable (to date I still can’t cancel my bill pay setups or change them), and lack of support all around showed they have no clue what they are doing.

    They should have been on facebook, twitter and had a live blog of some sort. They should have opened up the doors and kept people informed via the platforms they use daily. This would have upheld their brand promise. Now? It looks like a brand lie.

  6. Yeah I am not impressed at all with them. I will not be switching to them no matter what their hours are. I am new to the area, and their lack of overall care for their brand is enough to keep my signiture off af any agreement that would make me their customer.

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