Royal Bank adopts new corporate name, logo

Royal Bank, now Canada's largest company, is changing its brand name and corporate logo to reflect that its reach is no longer confined to Canada.

Effective immediately, the Royal Bank of Canada will be known as RBC Financial Group. The new logo features the letters "RBC" as well as modified drawing of "Leo" the lion who's been a part of the Royal logo since 1901.

The bank will operate its five business divisions under the "RBC" name. So the Royal Bank will be known as RBC Royal Bank. RBC Dominion Securities becomes RBC Investments.

While the brand name change is effective immediately in Canada, the signs outside the company's various business will change gradually. The company says the new look will be completely phased in countrywide by 2004.

"We want to be able to use a common brand name and logo wherever we operate," said RBC Financial Group CEO Gord Nixon.

"RBC has evolved over time and it is essential that our corporate image evolve along with it in order to reflect market conditions, new product and service offerings, and customer expectations."

More than a third of the company's earnings, almost a quarter of its employees, and 2 million clients of RBC Financial Group are outside Canada.

In the past two years, Royal Bank has acquired half a dozen banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses in the U.S.

Royal is just the latest Canadian bank to put initials to its public brand name. Toronto Dominion Bank is now known as TD Bank Financial Group, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is known to the public as CIBC.

RBC Financial Group is the largest company in Canada by market capitalization. Nortel relinquished that title last week. The Royal reports its quarterly results on Tuesday.