Discarding a plan to keep separate names for their wholesale and retail operations, Bank of Boston Corp. and BayBanks Inc. will adopt a single name, BankBoston Corp., when they merge at the end of the month.
Speaking to employees Monday, Bank of Boston chairman and chief executive Chad Gifford said he and William M. Crozier Jr., chairman of BayBanks, felt that although "there were obvious equities in both of those visual identities," neither of the two names really "had the right identity."
Originally, the two banks proposed retaining the name BayBanks of Boston for the retail operations and Bank of Boston for national and international operations.
"Neither name really captured what our company can and will do, and we didn't want to rename ourselves a boat, a ship, or a fleet," he quipped, in a swipe at Boston-based Fleet Financial Group, the combined banks' primary competitor.
"BayBanks' graphic identity was so closely associated with retail that it would have perhaps worked against communications," he added.
Similarly, Bank of Boston had a "formal, serious" ring to it that "would have worked against portraying us as a humble, customer-oriented institution."
Until conversion is completed next year, all units of the two banks will retain their old names but will also be identified as "a BankBoston company."
Along with switching to a single name, the two banks will adopt a redesigned logo combining the green of BayBanks' logo with the blue of Bank of Boston, along with a soaring eagle.
Mr. Crozier is scheduled to be chairman of the combined bank until his retirement in 1998. Mr. Gifford will serve as president and chief executive.
The combined bank will have assets of $60 billion.
Analysts said they were slightly surprised at the readiness with which Mr. Crozier agreed to switch to the BankBoston name after BayBanks spent decades building up both its name and image.
When the merger was announced in December, Mr. Gifford hailed BayBanks as the "premier consumer brand name in this area" and said that the two men hadn't spent more than 30 seconds deciding to adopt it.
"It's particularly remarkable that Bill Crozier agreed, but this does show that some of the cultural issues people thought could pose a problem aren't really there," said Nancy Bush, a banking analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman.
Ms. Bush also speculated that both executives decided to scrap separate names after they simply found them too cumbersome. "It's much easier this way and sort of clarifies their image in everyone's mind," she said.