If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

That's apparently what Community First National Bank in Thornton, Colo., decided this month when it dropped a lawsuit against Community First Bancshares and instead agreed to be acquired by the Fargo, N.D., super community banking company.

Community First Bancshares, with $4.4 billion of assets, is the parent of Colorado Community First National Bank. That bank, which operates more than 30 branches in Denver and the surrounding area, was created to manage Community First's acquisitions of several Colorado banks.

For Community First National Bank in Thornton, the problem was the "Colorado Community First" name. Its lawsuit claimed that the name was too similar to its own and was causing confusion among customers and vendors. This confusion prompted the $72 million-asset bank to sue last year to block its larger competitor from using the name.

A courtroom battle was averted-narrowly-when Community First Bancshares acquired Community First National Bank on Jan. 9 for an undisclosed sum.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial Feb. 9. Instead, the acquisition is expected to be completed this quarter.

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The small town of Cushing, Okla., was recently given a large gift by its only independent bank.

In celebration of its 100th birthday Dec. 16, Bank of Cushing bought a vacant, one-story downtown building and donated the space to the Cushing High Alumni Association. The bank paid $10,500 for the building, which will be used as planning headquarters for the town's annual high school reunion as well as for a Hall of Fame, so to speak, for Cushing alumni.

"We've been here for a long time, and we wanted to give something back to the community," said bank president John A. Bryant, class of '59.

- Alan Kline

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Oklahoma bank robbers beware. Carolyn Koch-Paramore is a great shot.

Ms. Paramore, a vice president of operations at Oklahoma National Bank of Duncan, is also a world-class shooter. She is training to make the U.S. trap shooting team for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Trap shooting is similar to skeet shooting. It requires shooters to hit flying targets from various points on a course.

If Ms. Paramore, 30, makes the team, it will be her second trip to the Olympics. She placed fifth among women in the trap competition at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

- Joanna Sullivan

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