"Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself."
-- J.K. Rowling
If Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's perception of name fright holds true, Bank of America
After the pending acquisition of embattled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial
A stained name can have a lasting effect on customers' brand awareness. I got a good chuckle recently when noticing an anti-crime poster outside a local Countrywide lending branch that read, "No cash in store." It had been graffitied out by an unknown individual to read, "No cash in company." Talk about negative public perception.
Adding to the shady reputation, Countrywide's high-profile CEO, Angelo Mozilo, recently caused Congress to raise an eyebrow when he, along with executives from Merrill Lynch
What's in a name?
Bank of America isn't the only one attempting to revive potential through a name change. Back in 2003, cigarette titan Philip Morris changed its corporate name to Altria Group
Whether or not Countrywide the business holds on through the rest of the credit crunch is another story. For now, we know for sure Countrywide the name will soon be a faded memory.
R.I.P., Countrywide. Best of luck with your new identity.
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Fool contributor Morgan Housel owns shares in Altria Group, but none of the other companies mentioned in this article. He appreciates your questions, comments, and complaints. The Fool's disclosure policy likes its name just how it is.