Chevy Chase Bank

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

19 May 2010

Chevy Chase Bank Is Getting Swallowed By Capital One

Chevy Chase Bank called itself “The Leading Local Bank,” or something like it, for years. Being the largest “local” bank in the Washington DC metro area, it called upon the likeness of Benjamin Franklin to tell consumers all about it. Now, after being purchased by Capital One a little more than a year ago, consumers are going to see Chevy Chase go away and Capital One take its place.

“All this does is illustrate the importance bank leadership places on marketing and communication. Which, if you have not guessed, is nothing.”

More than a year after being herded into Capital One, the “About Us” on the Chevy Chase Bank website still says:

When you bank with Chevy Chase Bank, you’re partnering with one of the most familiar and trusted names in the greater Washington, D.C., area. As our region’s largest locally owned bank we take pride in championing what’s really important in a bank: personal service, community commitment, and the convenience of the region’s largest branch/ATM network. So if you’re looking for a bank with progressive products and traditional values … a bank you can count on to help you manage, borrow, or invest money wisely… there’s no place like Chevy Chase Bank.

Clearly this is not true, unless you count local stock holders. Even television advertising that ran after the buyout still had ole’ Ben Franklin telling everyone that Chevy Chase was the “Leading Local Bank.”  I wonder what it spent on those ads to get absolutely nothing out of them.  And even on the eve of being rebranded Capital One, it is still telling the world (as evidenced by their “About Us” page on their website) it is the “Region’s largest locally owned bank.”


I imagine what happened is what happens at most banks. Marketing (of both Capital One and Chevey Chase) said, “We have to advertise, so hold the fort by just keep saying what we always have.”  More concerned about frequency than message, the decision was made to maintain the status-quo.

All this does is illustrate the importance bank leadership places on marketing and communication. Which, if you have not guessed, is nothing. Most look at it as a cost of doing business, not a strategic tool to steal market share. What happens this that banks like Chevy Chase attempt to match the frequency of the market leader, outweighing the importance of message, and spending large sums of money are spent for little return.

Churn is ridiculously low in the banking industry as few give a customer a reason to switch. Banks all say the same things and their messages are ignored. There  is great opportunity for a bank to be different, act differently, and speak differently – a difference forged out of the beliefs of the target market, which are the customers of the competition. Don’t just stay with the status quo.

See more posts in the following related categories: bank branding bank marketing Capital One Chevy Chase Bank


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