What's in a name?

California Federal Bank executives didn't think twice about giving Glendale Federal Bank shareholders more than half of the company that will be formed by merging the two thrifts, or about adopting the holding company's name, Golden State Bancorp.

But they're balking at using the Glendale name for the operating unit. It's "too provincial," Carl B. Webb, CalFed president and chief operating officer, said in an interview last week.

Market research shows Glendale's cheeky advertisements have established the thrift as a no-nonsense alternative to big banks, Mr. Webb said, but CalFed better reflects the new institution's statewide presence.

"More than likely, (the new name) will be CalFed," Mr. Webb said.

But if there's a better name out there, he said, now is the time to find it.

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