What’s in a Name? (The Bank Version)

A pictorial representation examining the most common words used in commercial bank names.


In September of 2010, I examined the 50 most common words in credit union names. We highlighted the blog again last week in our “Best of Off the CUff in 2010” email. One commenter suggested doing a similar word cloud for banks. As requested, below is a pictorial representation of the 50 most common words in bank names. The larger the word in the cloud image below, the more frequent it appears. This analysis is for all commercial banks — no FDIC-supervised savings institutions or OTS institutions — which totals 7,092 institutions. After excluding national, association, bank, savings, and state, the top word is First, followed by Community, Farmers, and Citizens. Geographical locations have a strong presence in the top 50 — Western, South, and Florida all appear — but Texas beats all other location-based words. Savings and State had a strong presence initially, but I excluded both words as they usually indicate institution structure (e.g., state savings bank or savings bank) when used.

Bank Word Cloud

Between commercial banks and credit unions with more than $10 million in assets, banks have more words in common than credit unions. Based on the number of times the word appears to the number of institutions, a full 16.5% of commercial banks have “First” in their name. As a ratio, more credit unions have “Community” in their aggregated names. The two groups of institutions have only four words in common: Community, County, First, and Valley. 

10 Common Words in FI Names


Jan. 6, 2011


  • Interesting
  • Thanks for this side-by-side analysis! Considering the similarities and differences between the two pictures is a thought-provoking exercise, indeed.
    J. Mark O.
  • Very interesting and timely for us since we just changed our name in 2010. Thanks!
    John Iglesias
  • Ha Ha! We laugh about this all the time. There is no originality in bank names. Although we have noticed some of the same in Credit Unions, too. We had a client once named Ralph's CU. They changed their name to Clearpath CU... still a pretty good name, but I like Ralph's CU better.
    Scott Byorum