Truliant renews concerns about Truist branding

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With just weeks left for Truist Financial – the new brand name resulting from the merger of BB&T and SunTrust banks – to respond to a lawsuit, Truliant Federal Credit Union is doubling down on its claims of trademark infringement.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based credit union filed the suit in June challenging the name, claiming the similar monikers would create confusing on the market. With the two banks not expected to respond to the claims until early December, the $2.5 billion-asset credit union on Monday reiterated its argument that the biggest bank merger in over a decade will directly harm its business.

Truliant President Todd Hall said in a release that online searches for information about the credit union’s products and services “may automatically populate results including ‘Truist’ and redirect consumers to that entity, especially given the direct geographic overlap in the respective markets,” he said. “And bigger problems with brand confusion exist as financial institutions’ digital ecosystems incorporate the next wave of retail-tech game changers.”

Google is able to detect geographical location and provide custom results based on a user's location even if two users search the same keyword.

Truist is expected to base its operations in Winston-Salem, where Truliant is also headquartered and has over a dozen branches. The credit union has used its current branding since 1999 and Truliant is a federally registered trademark.

Hall claimed Truist selected its name despite being “intimately familiar” with Truliant and its branding.

“It speaks volumes that they are wholly unconcerned with trading on the brand equity that we’ve built over the last two decades,” he said.

As reported, Hall will take the helm as CEO early next year following the retirement of longtime Truliant CEO Marc Schaefer.

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Lawsuits Branding M&A Truist Financial BB&T SunTrust North Carolina