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Posted: Friday, June 27th 2014 at 4:02pm

CB&T becomes South State Bank on Monday

By Mitch Clarke, Editor
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CB&T officials unveil a new sign outside the E.E. Butler Parkway branch. The bank changes its name to South State Bank on Monday.
A local bank is changing its name next week, but bank officials say customers won’t notice much change beyond new signs and new colors.

On Monday, Community Bank & Trust becomes South State Bank as the bank’s parent company launches a rebranding effort aimed at bringing the five different banks it owns under a unified name.

Officials at the CB&T branch on E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville unveiled new signage outside the branch during a brief ceremony Friday afternoon. Gone are the familiar red and white signs of CB&T, replaced with the blue and gold of South State Bank.

“By bringing everything under one name, we’re going to be able to better serve our customers,” said Doug Patterson, city executive for CB&T in Gainesville. “We’re going to bring five names and $8 billion (in assets) under the South State Bank name. It’s really going to let us provide even more convenience.”

As the parent company, South Carolina Bank and Trust, has expanded and acquired other banks in recent years, the company made a conscious effort to let those bank keep their name.

“That was the strategy of the bank,” Patterson said. “It let customers know the local bank they knew and trusted wasn’t going anywhere.”

But having five banking names – at branches in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia - ultimately caused confusion for customers.

“We may have customers on vacation in Savannah who need a bank who might not know that we have a branch there. We may have customers who think they need to open an account at a new bank when their child goes off to Clemson,” Patterson said.

The final push for a name change came when SCBT and First Federal decided to merge. The goal was to combine the bank’s multiple brands - SCBT, NCBT, CBT, First Federal and The Savannah Bank - under one unique name.

Rather than hire a marketing firm to effect the name change, SCBT instead turned to its own people. From one all-day meeting, 357 name combinations were generated internally. Those name were eventually narrowed to five names. A branding company was hired to help create the logo and choose the new color scheme.

“We could have hired an agency to tell us what to call ourselves,” Patterson said. “But what we did instead, I think, makes everyone feel a part of the change. SCBT has been around 80 years. CB&T has been around 100 years. There’s a lot of history that we wanted to incorporate in the new name. I love the new name and colors because I feel like we were involved.”

CB&T customers first got letters in January telling them a name change was coming. During the weeks leading up to the name change, customers received detailed information outlining the process.

But Patterson emphasized that customers shouldn’t see much change.

“The same people they’ve dealt with before are still going to be here,” he said. “We’ve got people who have been with us for 25 years, some for 15 years. There’s a lot of tenure here. But the exciting thing is that on Monday morning, all of us will have been with South State Bank for one day.”

Customers should contact their local branch if they have questions or need additional information.

Associated Categories: Business News, Local/State News

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