Regions, BBVA Compass Issue Crimson Tide Debit Cards

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The Alabama Crimson Tide is the unquestioned king of college football. And two banks are trying to muscle in on the glory.

For the third time in four years, Regions Financial (RF) will issue an Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 National Championship-themed check card and checks, to honor the Tide's latest national football title. Regions offered a similar check-card and checks last year, and in 2009, to commemorate Alabama's other recent national championships.

Meanwhile, BBVA Compass (BBVA) is also offering a Tide-themed check card, with an Alabama helmet with the number "15" emblazoned on the side to commemorate Alabama's 15th national championship in college football.

Both banks continue a long tradition of financial institutions entering into licensing agreements to sponsor college football games. Regions, based in Birmingham and the biggest bank in Alabama by deposit market share, already has marketing agreements with the Southeastern Conference, and some other SEC schools.

For a Spanish-owned bank, BBVA Compass has lots of Alabama ties, too. The second-largest bank in Alabama by market share, BBVA Compass is headquartered in Birmingham and promotes a retail program called Bama Banking that lets customers choose what types of products—and Crimson Tide logos—they want featured on their banking materials.

Other banks have also gotten a foot in the door of college football sponsorships. Discover Financial Services (DFS) sponsored the Monday night title game between Alabama and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And some community banks have acquired naming rights for college football stadiums, like the $2.8 billion-asset Liberty Bank of Arkansas' deal for the Arkansas State Red Wolves' stadium name.

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