What’s in a Name?

A pictorial representation of the 50 most common words used in credit union names.


I recently finished an article on the financial performance of community-chartered credit unions compared to their SEG peers. (Be sure to check out the 2Q edition of CUSP to read it.) While working on the piece, I wondered how many credit unions had the word “Community” in their name. Quite a few – but not as many as credit unions that include the word “Employees” in their name.

To illustrate the frequency with which certain words are used in credit union names, I created a couple of word clouds. The word cloud below displays the 50 most common words used in credit union names (out of 7,600 credit unions). The larger the word in the cloud, the more frequent it appears (note: I excluded Federal Credit Union and Credit Union).

Word Cloud All Credit Union Names

The word “employees” dominates by far, but other geographic indicators other than community are present – county, city, municipal, area, valley, etc. This next image narrows its focus to credit unions with more than $10 million in assets as of June 30, 2010. In this peer group, “Community” and “Employees” are equal in weighting.

Word Cloud Credit Unions 10M+

What other factors affect a credit union’s name?

UPDATE: 01.06.11

Click here to see what the word cloud looks like for commercial banks. 


Sept. 20, 2010


  • Interesting! I wonder how this picture looks for community banks of similar size?
    J. Mark O.
  • re-run from earlier this year.
    shelley murphy
  • Thank you for the comments. Please click on the link at the end of the article to read "What’s in a Name? (The Bank Version)."
    Lydia Cole
  • Great article! It takes an uncommon look at our industry and gets you thinking just how powerful(or detrimental)an organization's name can be. Thanks for the clever perspective.
    Ed Zagorski
  • Clever graphical representation Lydia!
    John Dolan-Heitlinger