The familiar name of Rappahannock National Bank will disappear come October but not its staff or the dedication to service customers expect, says RNB President and CEO Michael T. Leake.
RNB sent out a letter June 30 to its customers informing them that Rappahannock National Bank will become Union First Market Bank on Oct. 12. RNB has been part of Union First Market Bankshares Corp. since 1998. The corporation is now folding its two community banks — Rappahannock National Bank and Northern Neck State Bank — into Union First Market Bank, its largest bank affiliate.
No one is losing their jobs because of the change, Leake said.
RNB has offices in the town of Washington, Warrenton, Middleburg, Front Royal and Winchester. It was first chartered in Washington in 1902 under the name Rappahannock National Bank, a name that will come off the bank branches as of Oct. 12.
Leake acknowledged the “emotion” attached to the familiar name in existence for so long.
At the same time “it’s the service that you deliver on the inside” of the bank’s walls that is important, Leake said.
Local people will still be staffing the bank and the decision-making will still be local, he said.
Leake noted that he was raised in Rappahannock and he had a home in the county until recently.
He said bank customers typically have three concerns when a bank changes names — will I be dealing with the same people, will I need new checks and will banking hours change?
Leake said “customer service is exemplary” and that will not change, nor will the people providing it. The name change won’t result in layoffs and it may even provide new opportunities to bank employees.
Customers can continue to use their RNB checks past Oct. 12. They will get new ones with the bank’s new name when they’ve run out of checks, Leake said.
Banking hours will remain the same and no branches will be closed, he added.
Leake said those three issues — bank staffing, checks, and hours — have come up in the feedback he’s received from customers so far.
“It’s important for us to make the effects as minimal as we could make it,” he said.
The format of bank statements will be the same. There won’t be an impact on existing loans. The only glitch Leake said he could foresee was perhaps a duplication of account numbers in some situations but those will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
“I think it’s important to note that this is not an acquisition but an integration,” he said. “It’s an efficiency decision that will ultimately help our customers”
He said that while the Rappahannock name is a strong brand name it is not as strong in other areas served by the parent company.
Union First Market Bank has more than 90 branches throughout Virginia and is the largest community-based bank in the state with $4 billion in assets. Union First currently operates solely in Virginia.
Rappahannock customers will be able to use ATMs throughout the system and will have access to “a larger array of products and services” and be served by enhanced technology and a central web site at bankatunion.com, Leake said.
He said consolidation of “back office” operations began six months before he became president of RNB in 1999. Back office operations include such things as accounting and marketing operations. The consolidation facilitates the sharing of resources and expertise.
Whereas there were five bank holding companies within the parent organization now there will be one.
“We’ll be able to sell one brand instead of five,” Leake said.
Between the five — Rappahannock National Bank, Prosperity Bank, Union Bank and Trust, Northern Neck State Bank, and Bay Community Bank — “we had Virginia covered but it’s somewhat difficult to expand” up to this point, he said.
He said that customers will get another notification about the name change 30 days before it goes into effect.
Rappahannock National Bank has been involved in the community and that will not change, Leake added.
“We’re not going to forget where we came from. We’re so involved in the community — trying to support non-profits and public and private schools. That won’t be changing,” Leake said. “We won’t let the community down. We’ll just have a few more assets to get it done.”