The landscape of the banking industry is constantly evolving, with frequent mergers and acquisitions. In 2012, there were 231 whole bank mergers and acquisitions and 100 nationwide branch transactions.
Thomson Reuters reports M&A activity is at an 11-year low. The good news is that experts see signs of an uptick in banking M&A activity on the horizon, as capital requirements, regulatory pressures and business factors drive consolidation. Bolstering this prediction, more than half of banks stated they intend to make some form of acquisition in 2013, according to a survey by Bank Director Magazine.
When banks merge or acquire other banks, there is a need to rebrand and market the change to local customers. Yet, marketing in the financial services industry can be challenging. As a highly regulated industry, banks are limited in the types of marketing activities they can employ, making it difficult to build awareness with local consumers.
To reach local customers while adhering to financial services marketing regulations, business listings management is foundational to banks and financial services companies. Business listings management ensures banks are listed accurately across local business directories, search engines, business portals and social sites as well as mobile apps so local consumers can easily find them in online and mobile searches.
A recent local search usage study conducted by comScore found local business searchers looking for financial services, including local banks, are more likely to have a specific business in mind when conducting their search. Updating the business listings of merged or acquired banks and their branches is essential to a strong local presence.
Business listings should include basic business information such as company name, phone number and address, and can also include enhanced information like website links and hours of operation. Having consistent and accurate business listings online will improve a bank’s local search engine rankings and ensure potential customers are able to find the bank when conducting online and mobile searches.
Rebranding Multiple Locations On and Offline
Florida Community bank recently announced it plans to acquire Atlantic Coast Bank, which will expand the bank’s locations to 53 branches in Florida and Georgia. One immediate result of the acquisition will be a name change, since the bank will be expanding its reach into other states.
In another recent deal, Seattle-based Washington Federal announced it would acquire over 50 retail branches of Bank of America locations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and New Mexico. Washington Federal will rebrand the 50 previous Bank of America retail locations to the Washington Federal name as soon as regulators approve the deal.
When acquiring multiple business locations, banks need to not only rebrand and market to customers. They also need to ensure that they’re updating the business listings of the bank they acquired online so that when consumers search online for a local bank, they have the most up to date information, including the new name.
Business listings management offers a valuable return on a merged bank’s local marketing investment. These activities help banks to quickly overcome the market confusion mergers and acquisitions can cause among local consumers. By becoming more “findable” when customers conduct online and mobile searches, merged and acquired banks can build the increased awareness and website and local business traffic that will help them remain competitive in their local markets, during an M&A transition.