By Neil Cotiaux
What’s in a name?
Dropping the hybrid Synovus/NBSC brand adopted when the former National Bank of South Carolina became a division of Synovus Financial Corp. 23 years ago should lead to a better understanding of what the unified company can do for its customers, according to Dixon Harrill Jr., the bank’s Upstate region market executive.
“By the end of this month, we should have everything converted to the Synovus brand,” said Harrill, who joined Synovus/NBSC in November and is overseeing the change of identity locally.
With a total of five offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson, about 50 employees, and $400 million in Upstate assets, “We’re a lot smaller for the market here than Greenville is used to for the size it is,” Harrill said at his office at 201 E. McBee Ave.
Discarding the NBSC name for a single brand will help eliminate the erroneous impression that the bank – part of a $31 billion-asset, 250-office institution – has only limited capabilities, especially in the commercial arena, he added.
“We’re going after business owners and their employees. … The bulk of our strategy is to grow the commercial,” Harrill said.
Both in the Upstate and across the bank’s five-state footprint, creating greater awareness through single branding is likely to be made easier by Synovus being named the country’s “most reputable bank.”
In a 2017 survey of 42 financial institutions by the Reputation Institute, Synovus scored an overall rating of 80.7, the highest overall score in survey history. The Columbus, Ga.-based company also snagged the top spot for leadership, governance, workplace, and citizenship among customers and noncustomers.
Eight of the survey’s top 10 banks had assets below $50 billion.
“The larger something is, the harder it is to manage,” even with good people and products, Harrill said. At $31 billion, “we think we have a better chance of being connected to our customers.”
Synovus will soon add at least two small-business bankers and one middle-market banker in Greenville. Commercial and industrial lending represents the largest part of the bank’s total loan portfolio, according to its latest annual report.
In addition, the Upstate operation recently hired two officers in trust and investment management, added a credit analyst position, and will hire a residential mortgage originator for Spartanburg.
On June 20, Kessel Stelling, Synovus’ chairman and CEO, joined Harrill and his team in Greenville for an invitation-only reception for select customers and prospects where they toasted the bank’s new brand and its redoubled commitment to the region.