Banks are in a hurry to try to utilize the speed at which they re-pay the TARP funds as a marketing ploy to increase preference. As today’s news said, “U.S. banks are scrambling to repay TARP money as soon as possible, in an effort to signal their strength to the market.”

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As a brand guy, I am all for finding the realities of the market and trying to make them positive. But there is no silver lining on this financial cloud, no matter how much they spin this last debacle.

What I love best about this is they talk about this as an industry, not as an individual bank trying to gain preference. But gaining positive spin for the industry. Who is that helping? It’s just another example of what is wrong with bank brands in the US: The Heard Mentality.

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It seems banks are now in a hurry to differentiate their brands by claiming everything that all the other banks can and will claim as well. They actually believe we will chose them based on those.

What is next for these marketing masters? Differentiating claims like free checking, convenient hours and lot’s of ATMs?

This marketing segment has a very low bar even as it seeks an alternative that represents the needs and wants of the customers it wishes to attract. Just make sure you hold onto your hats for the next banking version of Marketing 101. What will they think of next?