PORTLAND, OR: Sterling Bank has named Lane PR its first PR AOR as it attempts to fight negative perceptions of the financial services industry and connect with local communities.
Sterling selected Lane after an informal review because of the agency's experience in financial services and in the markets where the bank operates, said Marty Dickinson, EVP of marketing and communications.
Starting December 1, Lane will help Sterling with local and national media relations, digital services, and creative campaign development. A team of five will work on the account out of the firm's Portland, OR, and New York offices. VP Amber Roberts in New York and MD Shannon Riggs on the West Coast will lead the account.
Sterling, which operates 183 branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California, completed its rebranding from Sterling Savings Bank to Sterling Bank earlier this year, the bank's first formal branding effort in more than 25 years. The company was named on Forbes' list of worst banks in America in 2010.
Since Dickinson joined Sterling in 2011, she has helped develop the new brand platform through communicating with employees, customers, and communities, she said.
“As you look at how we have evolved as a bank and come to a place of a consistent and recognizable brand image and message, we have a very significant story to tell around the financial health of this organization and the sustainability of what this organization is going to continue to do over time,” Dickinson explained. “We're looking to Lane PR to help share our message on a broader level.”
Because economic struggles and negative perceptions of the banking industry present a challenge to Sterling's storytelling efforts, the bank will emphasize its role in helping local communities, she added.
“Positive things are happening, and we're a community bank serving Main Street in multiple ways,” Dickinson said. “When we get that message out, I think we have a role to play in the economic sustainability of the communities we're serving.”
According to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index released in September, 28% of Americans say they trust national banks, while 56% say they trust local banks.
“We will be really working to introduce members of Sterling Bank in their local communities, as well as highlighting some community outreach,” said Lane PR president Wendy Lane Stevens. “I think community banks have an opportunity to be transparent to their customer base and communities in which they operate and to get the message out about how they help people with their finances in a very one to one basis.”