An Ohio bank is making two big acquisitions, but they aren't the type that require lawyers' scrutiny or stockholder approval.
Second National Bank in Warren has commissioned artist Stephen Fessler of Athens, Ohio, to create two large paintings each 5 feet high by 18 feet wide that will hang behind the teller counter of a branch in Steubenville.
One painting will portray Steubenville's industrial history, which is rooted in the steel business. The other will capture the bucolic pre-1900 life of the Ohio River valley town.
"We want our customers and neighbors to find a connection with their Steubenville when they visit the office and view these paintings," said Diane C. Bastic, a senior vice president at Second National.
Mr. Fessler, who paints in a surreal and expressionistic manner similar to the styles of Pablo Picasso and Emil Nolde, says bank patrons won't see literal renderings of the town's history.
"All of my images are born accidentally," he said. "I tack my studio drop cloths onto the wall, and once they've become sufficiently splattered with paint I search the surface for suggestions. I'll find something gazing back at me from within a tangle of marks, and paint to free it."
The hiring of Mr. Fessler is only Second National's most recent backing of the arts. It long has donated to Akron's Ohio Ballet and has funded touring performances in communities the bank serves.
"This is the heart of steel country, and you've got guys on Harleys rolling up to watch the ballet," said Mary Roberts Henderson, a bank spokeswoman. "It's wonderful, and these same guys will tell us how much they appreciate having the opportunity to see something artistic."
As for how Mr. Fessler's paintings will look when finished, he says he's still hard at work.
"The bank is planning to install these on Oct. 2," he said. "The way I look at it, that gives me until Oct. 1 to finish."
A small Boston-based bank has changed its name in preparation for its Internet debut this year.
Atlantic Bank and Trust Co. became Capital Crossing Bank last week. The $500 million-asset institution made the switch, it says, because the old name wouldn't be distinctive enough on the Web.
"The Atlantic name worked well enough in this area, but we share it with many banks across the country," said Nicholas W. Lazares, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Capital Crossing. "With the Internet, our name will be nationwide, and we thought there may be some confusion."
Mr. Lazares said the company paid a branding expert an undisclosed amount to come up with the new name. Capital Crossing was chosen in part, he said, because the www.capitalcrossing.com address was available.
The new name also reflects a change in focus, Mr. Lazares said. Though it operated two branches, Atlantic Bank was primarily a wholesale institution, purchasing deposits and loans from other banks. Capital Crossing Bank will remain in that business, but it will market retail deposit accounts and make loans to consumers on-line as well.