Noah Bank in in Elkins Park, Pa., has sued NOA Bank in Duluth, Ga., in a dispute between two Korean-American banks over trademarks and competitive intelligence.
In March, the $237 million-asset NOA Bank opened a loan production office on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Around the same time, NOA Bank hired senior lender Byung-Chan Suh away from the $311 million-asset Noah Bank, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in federal court.
NOA Bank took these steps in order to use competitive information obtained from Suh to target Noah Bank's customers in the Northeast U.S., Noah Bank alleged in a Wednesday news release. Noah Bank operates branches in Manhattan and Queens, and in northern New Jersey.
Additionally, Noah Bank accused NOA Bank of planning to use the spelling of Noah Bank in the Korean language's Hangul alphabet to "confuse the public." Both banks are designated as minority depository institutions by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and both serve Korean-American communities.
Noah Bank accused NOA Bank of trademark infringement, unfair competition and other federal and state violations.
Calls to NOA Bank seeking comment were not immediately returned. NOA Bank had not filed a court response as of Wednesday morning.
NOA Bank was established in November 2008, in Duluth, under its existing name. NOA stands for North of Atlanta, according to a Wednesday news release issued by Noah Bank.
Noah Bank was founded in 2004 as "Royal Asian Bank, the Noah Bank." In addition to its legal headquarters in Elkins Park, Pa., Noah Bank's operating headquarters are in Fort Lee, N.J., and it operates retail branches in Palisades Park, N.J., and in Manhattan and Queens, N.Y.
Stevens & Lee is legal counsel to Noah Bank.