Seafirst Bank Getting New Name: Bank Of America

Seafirst Bank is going all-American. Bank of America, to be exact.

Come next year, Seafirst will take on the name of its San Francisco-based parent company, it was announced today.

The news comes less than a day after BankAmerica sealed its merger with NationsBank, creating the nation's largest bank chain with $572 billion in assets, 200,000 employees and 4,854 branches.

Seafirst officials had known for months that the bank's name would change. In fact, the San Francisco bank could have made the name change when it acquired Seafirst in 1983, but it opted not to do so. The name Seafirst carried too much local appeal.

The bank is a local institution. Its name has appeared on everything from a downtown skyscraper to parade floats. This year, Seafirst even bought the rights to have its name added to University of Washington's basketball arena, the Hec-Edmunson Pavilion. The arena's name somehow will have to be changed to include the words "Bank of America," Seafirst spokeswoman Sherri Pollock said.

"We'll be working closely with the University of Washington on that," Pollock said.

Northwest Banking President John Rindlaub insists that Seafirst, founded in 1870 as Phillips, Horton & Co., will not forget its Seattle roots.

"Let me assure you, as the new Bank of America, our local commitment to the Northwest and its communities remains as strong as ever," Rindlaub said in a statement.

The signs on Seafirst's 259 branches across the state won't be replaced until later next year, Pollock said. The same goes for the bank's checks, billing statements and other materials.

"We don't have an exact timeline," Pollock said. "In the meantime, it's business as usual."

Tyrone Beason's phone message number is 206-464-2251. His e-mail address is: