Iconic banking brand will soon disappear
Wed, 26 Sep 2012 6:01p.m.
By Emma Joliff
The National Bank brand, part of our financial landscape for almost 140 years, will soon disappear.
Within the last hour it's been confirmed National will be rebranded by its Australian owner ANZ, and both will trade as ANZ Bank New Zealand.
In Wellington's Courtenay Place, one bank has already been co-branded ANZ/National after earthquake risk forced the closure of a nearby ANZ. Now, the National Bank, with its famous black horse logo, is set to disappear altogether.
The black horse became the symbol of the bank in 1978 when the bank transferred its head office from London to New Zealand.
ANZ bought the National Bank for more than $6 billion in 2003.
Roy Morgan Research says National was way ahead on customer satisfaction back then – 85 percent of its customers satisfied against ANZ's 65 percent.
“It would have been too risky to try and lose that National brand but over time it's become obvious that the ANZ satisfaction levels have increased and this is potentially a reasonable time to think about bringing the two closer together,” says Roy Morgan Research chief executive Michele Levine.
She says companies that merge are unlikely to run two separate brands forever.
“We all know they'll try and look to not have duplication either behind the scenes or front of house, but branding in particular is also expensive.”
Twenty-two percent of New Zealanders bank with the National Bank and 20 percent with ANZ. National customers tend to be more educated, more affluent and have more money in the bank.
But Ms Levine says customer loyalty is about more than branding.
“If your local branch is no longer there that will be much more important than a black horse not being there.”
Staff were called to meeting at 4:30pm this afternoon to be told the news.
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