22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendell Fountain Dr. Wendell V. Fountain has been President/Principal Consultant of Fountain & Associates Business & Management Consultants since 1984. Wendell is a credit union strategist, speaker, and author. He has … Web: www.wendellfountain.com Details This is not a simple question to answer; however, William Shakespeare saw it in a different light, because according to him, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” In his world that might have been true, but when history, tradition, and egos become added entities that is not necessarily always the case.It is not unusual for boards of directors and managements to have to wrestle with the reidentification of a credit union. Sometimes, even the suggestion that the name of a credit union be changed can cause apoplexy in a board room. This is especially true when it has been known by its current name for 50 or 60 years. I know, because I have done it as a credit union volunteer board member and as a business consultant. In the first scenario, when I was serving on a board of directors, I thought that about one-third of our nine-member board was going to come unglued when I even hinted at a name change. There were three old-timers who stuck together like three unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses on a hot summer’s day and logic and reasoning were ignored. They had been on the board longer than the longest surviving members of Congress; in fact even back when Moby Dick was a minnow. They were absolutely incensed that I even suggested such a blasphemous thing! My, how a few years can change things. I recently read where one of those “old-timers” now takes credit for the name change; yet, at the time, he and the other two fought me and other board members fiercely and intensely about the issue for months. The facts are that decision, in which we finally prevailed, helped better identify who was eligible for membership, grow the business, and provide more Americans with the benefits of being a credit union member. For more flexibility, we also agreed to change our charter from federal to state.In the second scenario, I was engaged as a business consultant by a failing credit union to help save it primarily because its sponsor had gone under. At first, the manager, along with some older board members, did not like my suggestion to change the name of “their” credit union. My response was straight forward. “Without your old sponsor, the only way to survive is to expand your field of membership, while at the same time retaining your current members; otherwise, you will have to liquidate,” I stated as empathetically and professionally as I could. After they finally agreed upon my approach, I explained that one of their employees would be needed for training purposes to work with me so that after my departure, she would be able carry on the work of expanding the field of membership. A few days later, I presented them with a newly designed logo and suggested name change approved by the NCUA which they felt exemplified who they were and where they wanted to go with the expansion efforts. So, we were off! Our initial expansion efforts were modest but successful. That was about 25 years ago, and today that credit union is still going strong.The driving force behind such decision making is the strategic plan, which includes the short and long range direction of an organization. In other words, the name should either limit the boundaries of a credit union or allow for, as nearly as possible, unlimited possibilities for growth. The name can relate your credit union to a particular sponsor, community, county, state, or other geographical area.One of the reasons Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest in the world is that they are worldwide as related to the U. S. military. Currently, they have $70 billion in assets and well over five-million six-hundred-thousand members. Though they, too, are also limited in membership eligibility, that organization has access to a huge pool of members and potential members.For nearly all other credit unions, they do not have access to such a large pool of potential members; so the challenges for many credit unions is to select and rebrand a name which is representative of and respectful to its current membership base, as related to the organization’s strategic plan. In scenario one that was very important, but in the second situation, that credit union had to do what it could to just survive. In the first scenario, the name change we finally settled on was what is referred to in the industry as a “fanciful” name, that is, a name which did not tie the credit union to any specific sponsor, community, county, state, geographical region, or even have a specific meaning. In other words, it was an addition to the English lexicon. As a result, the name and logo were trademarked. I, personally, liked that approach the best, because it gave us, as nearly as possible, access to potentially millions of members. Fortunately, there were four other directors who also liked the choice. So, off we went down the road of success! Today, that organization is flourishing in every way!