PHOENIX, Ariz. – When there’s a bank mega-merger the size of Bank One Corp. and J. P. Morgan Chase, it’s bound to bring in new business for credit unions “from frustrated consumers,” according to the chairman of the Arizona Credit Union League. Now there’s a local flap about what happens to all those icons carrying the Bank One name. The Chicago-based bank has maintained an overwhelming presence in the Phoenix market and across the state for years, but its plans next year to rename the Bank One Ballpark – known affectionately as the `BOB’ – as well as the state’s largest building, the Bank One Center and 200 branches seem to be backfiring. First and foremost, maintains Brian Barkdull, the League chairman who also is president of Huachuca FCU in Sierra Vista, “I think consumers will feel the impact in their wallets or pocketbooks” from the merger. Beyond that, however, Barkdull agrees that frustration does set in among bank customers who end up confused by repeated name changes particularly in Arizona banking long dominated by out of-state institutions like Wells Fargo, Bank of America and even Utah-based Zions Bank Corp., which over the years have gobbled up all of the regional banks. In the meantime, sports writers and columnists have complained about changing familiar monikers like the BOB which one wag called “endearing” “I guess they’ll have to change the BOB to COB,” joked Barkdull. Bank officials here maintain the transition will cause few ripples but that the Chase name “has a stronger identification nationally” and would replace the Bank One name on branches and products starting in 2005.

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