Bank One Corp. said it would replace First National Bank of Chicago signs today at all commercial and retail banking offices, in a globe-spanning operation.

New signs with the Bank One moniker are to go in their place.

Bank One is the brand name created last year with the $18.9 billion merger of Columbus, Ohio-based Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD.

The signage change is set to begin at the start of the business day in Sydney, Australia, and will end 17 hours later in Los Angeles.

The changes affect 13 foreign commercial banking offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Frankfurt, London, Mexico City, and Toronto. In Chicago, 175 commercial and retail banking offices and 1,000 automated teller machines are to swap signs.

In a statement, Bank One chairman Verne G. Istock, the former chairman of First Chicago NBD, said "Our merger remains on track, and we continue to look forward to the growth opportunities ahead."

Bank One was scheduled to alert one million First Chicago customers in that city Sunday night with 15-second television advertisements. "Tomorrow First Chicago becomes Bank One," says the voice-over. "ATMs will abound. Money will flow. Life will be good."

Branch personnel will don blue Bank One polo shirts instead of their normal business attire for the first week, to drive the message home.

The change is not dramatic. Each company's signs are similar in size and shade of blue. Bank One is letting customers continue to use First Chicago checks until their supply runs out. "Our customers are going to be coming into the same locations and seeing the same people," a spokesman said. "It may be weeks before they notice a difference."

Today's sign swapping is the final step in the combined organization's renaming effort. NBD branches in Michigan and Florida changed in May, and NBD branches in Indiana changed in June.

Bank One's brand now appears on more than 1,900 branches and 4,000 ATMs in the United States, in addition to the 13 overseas locations.

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