NAUGATUCK — For 143 years, the name Naugatuck Savings Bank has been a familiar one throughout the region. Later this year, the bank will go through a name makeover.
The bank is changing its name to ion Bank. The name change is expected to take effect in the fourth quarter of 2013, said Charles Boulier III, the bank’s president and CEO, in a press release.
The bank’s holding company, Nutmeg Financial MHC, will be changing its name to ion Financial MHC, while its insurance subsidiary, Sutherland Insurance Group, will change its name to ion Insurance.
The name change will have virtually no impact on customers, Boulier said in the release. Account numbers will not be changed and debit cards and checks issued under the Naugatuck Savings Bank brand will continue to be viable. As those cards expire and checks run out, customers will be reissued new cards and checks with the ion Bank brand image, he said.
There will be no disruption to normal business operations and hours at any of the bank’s offices during the transition to the new brand, he said.
Boulier said the bank’s new name better reflects its evolution from a small community bank, or thrift, to a broader and more comprehensive financial institution.
“While we are proud of our heritage as a small savings bank and remain committed to the local communities we have been serving for the past 143 years, the bank has evolved into something more than a traditional thrift,” he said. “That growth and evolution is what our new name is intended to reflect.”
The name is also meant to provide better brand recognition and clarity in markets beyond the Naugatuck River Valley, Boulier said.
“Our new name will help us improve our growth rate in newer markets and in markets that may be entered as a result of future expansion,” he said.
Naugatuck Savings now operates 17 full-service banking offices: three in Naugatuck, two in both Meriden and Waterbury, and single offices in Ansonia, Cheshire, Hamden, Middlebury, Oxford, Prospect, Southbury, Wallingford, Watertown and Woodbury. It also operates two limited-service offices, in Naugatuck High School and in Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, that are open only to students and faculty.
Boulier noted that extensive market research on the part of the bank indicated there was confusion among the general public as to the bank’s identity and the services it offers.
“Not everyone out there clearly understood who we are and what we do,” he said. “Hopefully, this will help eliminate some of the confusion.”
The market research initiative was approved by the bank’s board of directors in November 2011 and conducted throughout 2012, Boulier said. The process to research and develop a new name began in early 2013. The name ion Bank was eventually selected because bank officials felt it was an iconic and dynamic name that reflects swift action and nimble movement.
While the bank’s name and logo are changing, the bank is not making any other significant changes, Boulier said. The bank is committed to remaining a mutual institution that cannot be sold, and no changes to its management team or staff are being contemplated, he said.