For its 25th anniversary, Financial Federal embarks on low-key 'reintroduction'

Published on: November 6, 2010


James Dowd, The Commercial Appeal

For the first time in its 25-year history, locally owned Financial Federal is launching a multimedia marketing campaign that's as low-key and understated as the institution itself.

"We prefer to think of it as a reintroduction rather than a rebranding, because for the most part we're the same as ever," said Kent Wunderlich, CEO of Financial Federal. "We've expanded our offerings, but our focus on private banking and our close personal relationships with our customers remain unchanged."

In celebration of its first quarter-century, Financial Federal redesigned its logo, changed its color scheme to blue from green and updated its website.

The subtle campaign was developed by local agency Doug Carpenter & Associates, which was selected because it shared the bank's one-on-one emphasis, Wunderlich said.

Agency founder Doug Carpenter described the bank as one of the area's best-kept secrets.

"They're known for mortgage loans, but there's more to them now, and we felt this would be an appropriate way to get that message across," Carpenter said. "It's solid and informative without being gimmicky, while exposing them to a new customer base."

A series of radio spots describing the bank will air on WKNO-FM, complemented by print ads and collateral materials. A billboard near Poplar and White Station is about as splashy as the campaign gets.

"The most noteworthy thing about us is not necessarily what's new, but what's stayed the same," said William Tayloe, the bank's president. "We've managed to evolve with the times while maintaining our dedication to a simple business model."

That stems from Financial Federal's identity as a cashless institution that does not offer traditional checking accounts or maintain money onsite. It boasts more than $325 million in assets and services more than $1 billion in loans across the country.

The institution's local history dates back to 1985, when a group of local investors acquired a small East Tennessee bank and renamed it Financial Federal Savings Bank. Headquarters were eventually shifted to Memphis, where most of the company's 50 employees work. There are also commercial loan production offices in Nashville and Atlanta.

"Our advertising to date has been word-of-mouth, but we thought we'd do something more for this anniversary," Wunderlich said. "We hope it encourages longtime customers to come see us more and attracts some new ones at the same time."