After 125 years, Citizens National Bank in Evansville, Ind., is changing its name.
The bank's parent, CNB Bancshares, said this week that its Citizens Bank and Pinnacle Bank subsidiaries will be merged under one name, Civitas Bank.
"'Civitas" is a Latin relative of the English "citizens." The new name will adorn CNB's 144 branches in Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Illinois.
James J. Giancola, president and chief executive officer of $7.2 billion-asset CNB, said the name change will reduce advertising costs, because the company will now be able to market both banks under one brand.
"The implementation of a common brand throughout our franchise will provide CNB with a competitive advantage," Mr. Giancola said.
It should also eliminate some confusion in Citizens' markets. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., nearly 400 banks use "Citizens" in their names. CNB, an active acquirer, has been sued by other Citizens' banks in markets where it has recently bought-and renamed-banks, Mr. Giancola said.
The name change was announced Wednesday at CNB's annual meeting.
Mr. Giancola said signs at all of CNB's branches will be changed within a month and that the company will launch an advertising campaign to explain the name change to consumers.
CNB has already changed its Web site address to www.civitasbank.com, from www.citizenson-line.com. The holding company name and stock symbol will stay the same.
The company has not disclosed how much it will spend on the new signs and advertising campaign.
Daniel Cardenas, a bank analyst at Howe Barnes Investments in Chicago, said the advertising costs should be nominal, because most CNB branches are in nonurban markets where ad dollars go further. Still, he said, the company's Midwestern customers may have trouble embracing a Latin name.
"I'm not sure it will play in Evansville," he said.