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First Maryland to be Allfirst Financial; Subsidiary banks, firms to be unified under new name; Banking


After more than a year of brain-storming and test marketing, First Maryland Bancorp executives unveiled the company's new name yesterday -- Allfirst Financial Inc.

Frank P. Bramble, chief executive of Baltimore-based First Maryland, said subsidiary banks and companies, many of which operate under different names, will be unified under the Allfirst name.

"This transition was done to simplify the lives of our customers and to provide them with common product offerings, processes and technology," he said at a news conference.

"Our new name better reflects who we are and who our customers and employees want us to be -- a single, unified financial institution," he said.

First Maryland is a regional banking company with $18.3 billion in assets and 300 branch offices in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington and Northern Virginia. Its subsidiaries include Dauphin Deposit Bank in Harrisburg, Pa.; York Bank of York, Pa.; and Omni Bank of Millsboro, Del. Its largest bank is Baltimore's First National Bank of Maryland, whose name goes back to the 1860s, and will also be changed.

The company expects to spend from $8 million to $12 million for the name change project, which began about 14 months ago, and will conclude at the end of the year when all signs, checks, forms and ATM cards are changed to Allfirst.

Even First Maryland's site on the Internet will be renamed, which Bramble said is a hit with young people.

Two subsidiaries, Allied Investment Advisors and Zirkin-Cutler Investments, will retain their names but use the Allfirst logo, which is described as a portal letting in sunlight.

First Maryland, whose parent is Allied Irish Banks PLC of Dublin, Ireland, hired Interbrand Group, a New York international branding company, to help conduct consumer research and decide on a name.

Susan C. Keating, president and chief operating officer of First Maryland Bancorp, said letters explaining the name change are being sent to the company's 1 million customers.

The name transition will begin next month when signature buildings in Baltimore, Harrisburg, Reading, Pa., and several other cities adopt the Allfirst name. By June 28, the entire company will be operating as Allfirst.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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