Opening a bank account for the first time can be a scary thing. I remember waiting to open an account until I was loaded down with high school graduation money. Now or never was my attitude. I made the trip down to the local Sky Bank and became an adult. The bank employees were courteous and friendly, helping to ease my childhood fears of handing over all the money I had to my name. I thank Sky Bank for making my first experience so smooth and trouble-free.
Recently though, I had to say goodbye to my beloved Sky Bank as Huntington Bancshares Incorporated took over all operations and locations in Ohio. Huntington and Sky merged in July, with all accounts converted to Huntington services on Sept. 24. Huntington, headquartered in Columbus, employs 650 people in the Greater Akron Canton Region.
It came as somewhat of a shock to me when one day I received a letter in the mail notifying me of the merge. I didn’t think much of it until I received about six different pieces of mail from Huntington within the next two weeks. Let me tell you, receiving thick packet after thick packet from the bank is somewhat annoying when you have 20 other things going on in your life to worry about. Little did I know at the time though, just how handy those darn packets would turn out to be. After receiving my new green ATM card, I sadly watched as my old Sky Bank ATM card, covered with a blue sky and clouds, went through the shredder never to be used again.
Although most people in the town where I live were reluctant to change their ways, I have to give Huntington credit for keeping its soon-to-be customers informed. Not knowing much about Huntington at the time, the information sent to bank customers turned out to hold every piece of valuable information needed to understand the upcoming changes. More than enough notice was given to customers and this transition time period allowed customers to contact the bank with any questions or concerns.
Huntington, currently the 24th largest bank in the U.S. based on its assets according to the Akron Beacon Journal, received five excellence awards for its business practices in 2007. Huntington used effective public relations methods of informing its new customers and reassuring its competency as a banking provider.
Aside from the various mailing packets sent out to customers, Huntington also ran a television campaign announcing the merge. The short and friendly ads emphasized the company’s main goal of being “a bank invested in people.” The company utilized its trademark green color to create a hospitable and memorable message in its television commercials. The company rolled out the green carpet to its new customers and left a good impression in the minds of anyone who saw them. This bank reinforces the idea that it strives to put the customers’ needs first through its communications. The bank’s main Web site also answered general questions about the company and the merge, which provided customers with yet another means of communication and reassurance.
The numerous mailings sent out, television ads, promotion of its accomplishments and having general information widely available and accessible to customers helped Huntington make a smooth transition with its customers and made customers feel welcomed and secure. I mean, how else do you want to feel when your life savings are in the hands of someone else?