This bit of banking news was so small that we thought it newsworthy:

The holding company for Main Line Bank considered the letter "F" at odds with its corporate mission and image, so it obliterated the offensive character from the company's name.

Main Line's holding company used to be called MLF Bancorp. Now, it's just ML Bancorp. The company put out a (required) press release about the change (and just happened to mention its best quarterly earnings to date and a two-for-one stock split).

Why was "F" anathema to the $1.9 billion-asset company? Because it stands for Federal, as in savings bank. The word was a holdover from an earlier era and potentially confusing enough to customers to make it worth changing all the company's corporate filings and its stock ticker symbol.

Main Line is a thrift, but its name is that of a bank. Last year the Office of Thrift Supervision allowed the word "savings" to be dropped from the moniker of any thrift that wanted to, and recognizing the value of symbolism, Main Line joined the thrifts that did so.

The company's statement said, "The change was made to enable the public to better associate the company's name with that of its principal subsidiary, Main Line Bank, which changed its name in May to more accurately reflect the wide range of financial services offered."

Officials from Main Line could not be reached for comment.

And by the way, Villanova, Pa.-based Main Line doesn't have 18 branches, it has 18 "business centers." - Terence O'Hara

* * *

Not all community banks these days are drawn by the siren song of the stock market.

Though more than a dozen small banks have switched to national stock exchanges - primarily Nasdaq - during a historic rush the past six months, at least one has gone the opposite way.

"The board of directors believes that the costs associated with remaining registered outweigh the benefits for our small organization," said Michael M. Berryhill, president of Morgan Financial Corp. of Fort Morgan, Colo., in a release.

Morgan Financial, the $74 million-asset parent of Morgan County Federal Savings and Loan Association, said this week that since it has fewer than 300 shareholders and its stock remains thinly traded it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to deregister from the Nasdaq over-the- counter market.

The company converted from mutual to stock ownership in early 1993 and, as required by law, traded publicly for the three years afterward. The move should save $40,000 a year, Mr. Berryhill said. - Christopher Rhoads

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