–Dan Kelly, Attorney

A couple of years ago, I posted about the use of FIRST in bank names, and titled my post “First First!  A Diluted Banking Brand?”  Well, life imitates art:

Now, in this company’s defense, its name is just First National Bank, and the above signage really just combines two marks.  An image of a yoked ox separates the “1st” from the “First” in the first line, but when I saw the sign, my immedate (first?) thought was, “Is that really the first First National Bank?”

Probably not.  In my earlier post, I wondered how many “First” banks there are.  I now wonder how many First National Banks there are.  These are just from the first page of hits from an Internet search (and the names are courtesy the search engine results, not each bank’s linked page):

As it turns out, the phrase “National Bank” is a term of art in the U.S. banking industry, as explained here.  So far, I have been unable to locate anything explaining whether “First National Bank” or just “First” are also terms of art in banking.  Does anyone know?

Though I have not had much occasion to delve into this area in practice, I suspect that there are numerous federal and state regulations governing bank naming, which may be difficult to reconcile with creative and trademark considerations.  Nevertheless, some great bank names are out there–you just have to look.