While most Credit Unions have undergone a name change in order to better reflect their changed or expanded membership, some of the companies that were at the focal point of the latest economic troubles have decided that their old names were more of a liability than an asset.
AIG, or American International Group, whose liquidity issues almost brought down the U.S. financial system, has become American International Underwriters (AIU). Countrywide Financial, who specialized in subprime mortgages, was bought by BofA and is now Bank of America Home Loans. GMAC, the money behind the bankrupt General Motors, has become Ally Bank.
Do they think we won’t notice?
Or are they counting on our poor memory? This rebranding has been done before, with a good degree of success, according to Eric Effron of The Week. ValueJet, who crashed a plane into the Everglades and killed 110 people, became AirTran. Blackwater, the military contractor that pleaded not guilty to killing 17 Iraqi civilians, has been renamed Xe (pronounced zee). So apparently, the American public has Attention Deficit Disorder, and we are unable to connect the dots when companies in deep doodoo decide to change their name.
But I have a feeling that names are about the only thing that has changed, leaving the culture and management style intact at all these corporations. Which means nothing about how these businesses run their business has changed.
And, ADD or not, the American public can recognize a rotten smell.