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Although we typically take them for granted, names are a critical part of our identities. Whether it’s for a brand, business or consumer, names help us identify ourselves and give others a sense of who we are. Not only that, names represent purpose and foreshadow what we can become in the future. Before our name was decided, someone saw the potential of what we could be, Grasshopper Bank. While our brand has evolved over the years, some things still remain the same, including our name. So who is Grace Hopper, and how does she relate to the innovation economy? Grace Murray Hopper was a naval officer and computer pioneer, a legacy of innovation and service. 

In a time period of unusual opportunity for women, Grace Hopper received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Physics from Vassar College, as well as a Master’s Degree and P.h.D from Yale University. After graduating in 1930, Grace entered the workforce by joining the war effort, which led her to become one of the first three computer “programmers” in modern history. In addition to researching engineering sciences and applied physics, Grace was also a respected naval officer who worked on top-secret calculations essential to the war effort. As a naval officer, Grace was responsible for programming the Mark I, one of the earliest electromechanical calculators built during World War II. She also wrote the 561-page user manual. 

When the demand for computer programming proliferated, the need for a standardized language for business purposes grew. In 1959 common business oriented language (COBOL) was first introduced. Essentially, it was designed from the ground up as a computer language for business. While many people contributed to the “invention” of COBOL, Hopper promoted the adoption of the language in both military and private sectors. Today, COBOL is still widely used in business, finance, and administrative systems. When Grace retired as a rear admiral at age 79, she was the oldest serving officer in the United States Armed Forces. Today, Grace Murray Hopper is most known for her trailblazing contributions to the development of computer languages in addition to her involvement in the creation of the first all-electronic digital computer.

Why Grasshopper?

One evening while working on the Mark I, Grace and her colleagues encountered a problem. After taking the machine apart, a large moth was found inside. As a result, Grace started referring to computer malfunctions as “bugs” and coined the phrase “debugging.” While the bank was named after Grace Hopper, our logo mark and tagline “Only Forward” pays homage to the infamous grasshopper, a bug that can only move by jumping forward. Not only does a grasshopper serve as a reminder to keep moving forward, but also it reminds us to be patient and understand when it’s the right time to move. 

In order to keep moving forward, we must learn lessons from the past. By using the framework that Grace Hopper built before us, we intend to redefine what it means to provide the best digital banking experience. Guided by our mission to serve the innovation economy, our goal as a client-first digital bank is to continue to offer innovative, leading-edge products, services and technologies to improve our customers’ financial lives. Whether it’s helping small business owners keep track of their finances or providing firm-focused solutions for venture capital and private equity, we are committed to being the forward-thinking financial partner you can trust.

In today’s digital landscape, we understand that there’s an abundance of financial institutions to choose from, so as you weigh all your options, consider the future that you are trying to create. A name is a statement and the closest connection we have to an identity, which is important when building a new relationship. Be that it may, names play a relatively small role in real life, but banking does not. Although our name holds meaning, it’s only just the start. Remember, progress isn’t always made by moving forward, sometimes a great leap is necessary.

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