CitiFinancial Adopts Small Town Charm as a Sales Tool

By Mash Bonigala

Citibank is such a huge business that most Americans have heard of it. It is a large finance corporation with ties in almost every niche of the industry. Citibank is preparing to sell their consumer finance division, which could be complicated because the name and brand link it unquestionably with its current owner.

CitiFinancial recently changed its name and logo design to give it a unique identity, one that is not as easy to link to its parent company. Heretofore, CitiFinancial will be known as OneMain Financial and function as an unrelated entity. Severing ties to Citibank is the first step in being sold to a new corporation. This is rather a unique case, but it is necessary. Citibank has been trying to sell CitiFinancial for more than two years now, along with several other companies that are owned and managed by the conglomerate. Many financial businesses are also trying to get rid of consumer finance branches, as these are becoming increasingly unprofitable in the current economy.

The new finance company logo is not merely a way of cutting ties to Citibank, but a bid to be more attractive to consumers as well. OneMain feels friendly and approachable, like a small business on any town’s main street. The writing is rounded for a similar feeling. The colors remain similar to the patriotic palette used by Citibank, but they are muted slightly for a more modern feeling. The word ‘OneMain’ has been made much bolder than the other lettering, which gives the financial services logo a center of attention.

The OneMain Financial image is made of homes arranged to look like a flower. Because the company offers consumer loans, which often have to do with one’s house, this is a very appropriate image. Flowers are generally seen as a symbol of both growth and beauty, adding to the friendliness of the brand. A white star is formed in the negative space in the center of the image.

With the star and the American coloring, this logo feels a bit like a gas station logo design. It seems to have little to do with the finance and consumer loan industry. It just feels hastily thrown together. This makes us wonder: is Citibank desperate to get rid of CitiFinancial and merely rebranding to begin severing ties? This does not feel like a logo design that was designed for the long term success of the company.

On the other hand, consumer finance and personal loans have lost a lot of face in the last few years. Customers are wary of banks, aware that these institutions may not have their best interests at heart. A friendly logo design such as this one, even if it is not technically the best it could be, might begin to woo the market back. This is nothing if not a friendly brand, from the name to the image. Hopefully (for Citibank at least), this brand is more attractive to potential buyers than the old one.