In the English language, banq and banc are coined words pronounced identically to the word “bank”. Both terms have been adopted by financial services companies and others to satisfy legal restrictions on the usage of the word bank. The compoundbancorp (banc/bank + corp[oration]) is often used in the names of bank holding companies.
For example, a hypothetical chartered bank named Bank of Manhattan might form a holding company named “Manhattan Bancorp”, and a sister insurance business named “Banc of Manhattan Insurance”. One well-known past example was Bank of America’s investment banking entity, named Banc of America Securities (now part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch).
This practice originates from legal necessity: in the United States, the commerce departments of state governments generally prohibit or restrict the use of certain words in the names of corporations unless those corporations are legitimate chartered banks. For example, words prohibited by the state of Louisiana include bank, banker, banking, savings, safe deposit, trust, trustee, and credit union.
The evasive nature of the word does not necessarily indicate that an imposter is attempting to fraudulently impersonate a bank. One notable example is a company called Cachet Banq Inc., an ACH (automated clearing house) processing service that performs automated banking transactions for payroll processing. The company does not claim to offer any banking services, such as deposits or loans, and would only be able to legally include the word “bank” in its name in its home state of California with the approval of the California Department of Financial Institutions.
A similar example includes a company called Wine Banq, whose name clearly suggests it has nothing to do with the banking industry.
Naming laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as well as their interpretations. Notable counter-examples include blood banks and sperm banks.
- ^gov, Document Compliance Checklist Archived October 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, section on Name Availability
- ^Cachet Banq website
- ^California Department of Financial Institutions FAQ Archived October 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- ^Wine Banq, “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2006-12-30. Retrieved 2006-11-04.