As a result of significant growth since it first opened 11 years ago, the BNC Financial Group, which owns the Bank of New Canaan, announced on Friday a rebranding effort and plans to go public this fall.
The move, which will change the name of its branches to Bankwell, is designed to ensure continued growth for the upstart bank, while streamlining the brand's image, CEO Peyton Patterson said during a press conference at the bank's New Canaan headquarters.
"The overall brand is fragmented and causing limited growth potential," Patterson said. "We want to be a new model, and the gold standard of what it means to be a community bank."
The BNC Financial Group has two banks each in New Canaan and Fairfield and one in Stamford. The company recently acquired the Bank of Wilton, which will join the Bankwell brand in September. The bank also owns a loan-processing facility in Bridgeport.
In an effort to maintain the community loyalty that has helped the bank grow to $625 million in assets since its inception, the Bankwell name will include the community's name at each of its branches. The Bank of New Canaan will be known as Bankwell in New Canaan; First Bank of Stamford will be Bankwell in Stamford.
The company has grown its holdings 26 percent in the past five years, far surpassing the industry average of 2 percent, meaning that the group of banks is crowding out its competitors, like Webster Bank, TD Bank and First United Bank, Patterson said. The BNC Financial Group's earnings in the first quarter of 2013 surpassed its earnings for all of 2012.
Advertising aimed at alerting customers to the changes will begin in September.
With its initial public offering, it hopes to raise $30 million to $50 million, but it does not have specific plans for additional acquisitions, Patterson said. The money will help to continue organic growth and capitalize the bank. It plans to open a new branch in Norwalk in the first quarter of 2014 and a second location in Stamford in the second quarter of 2014.
BNC Financial Group President Heidi DeWyngaert dispelled the notion that the name change would negatively affect business by reminding the audience what separates the company from its competitors.
"It's really the people who make the bank and the people aren't changing," she said. The firm also highlighted its high level of community involvement, noting that it offers volunteered labor and financial support to more than 150 organizations in the region.
The name change was approved by the BNC Financial Group's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday night.
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