Triumph Bancorp in Dallas has made quite a name for itself in recent years.
The company has mushroomed in size from just over $300 million in assets to $1.5 billion after buying a much bigger bank in 2013. In November, it raised $83.8 million through an initial public offering, providing it with plenty of capital to fuel additional growth.
But all that activity has seemingly nettled a similarly named institution. Triumph Bancshares in Memphis, Tenn., claims it has been mistakenly contacted by several of the Dallas bank's customers, and it has concluded that the Triumph moniker isn't big enough for both institutions.
Triumph Bancshares, founded in June 2006, owns four trademarks staking its claim to the share name, along with the triumphbank.com domain name and a logo. It filed a trademark infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in mid-February, arguing that the Dallas bank's use of the name is "creating confusion in the marketplace."
Triumph Bancshares is seeking unspecified damages, as well as an injunction barring Triumph Bancorp from continued use of the Triumph name.
The Dallas-based company took on its name in November 2010, when EJ Financial was rebranded, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
These types of disputes happen periodically between banks with similar names or brands.
HomeTrust Bancshares in Asheville, N.C., resolved a similar dispute last year with HomeTown Bancshares in Roanoke, Va., by agreeing to modify its trade name on all signage and advertising in Virginia. HomeTown, claiming that customers were getting confused, had filed a lawsuit against HomeTrust, which had recently started offering services around Roanoke.
If the two Triumphs can't negotiate a resolution to their dispute, a jury trial will decide the issue. It is set to start in September 2016.
As things stand now, Triumph Bancorp seems disinclined to compromise. Amanda Tavackoli, the Dallas company's vice president for marketing and communication, wrote in a statement Friday that there are no plans for a name change.
"We are aware of the lawsuit," Tavackoli wrote. "Not surprisingly, we don't agree with the allegations and conclusions included in the complaint, so we will defend it."
William Chase Jr., the president and chief executive of the $517 million-asset Triumph Bancorp, declined to comment.
Triumph Bancorp has two banks: the $999 million-asset Triumph Community Bank in Moline, Ill., and the $411 million-asset Triumph Savings Bank in Dallas. The company does not have any banking interests in Tennessee but a move there is not inconceivable.
At Triumph Bancorp's annual meeting Thursday, President and Chief Executive Aaron Graft said the company would consider an "opportunistic acquisition" of a bank with about $1 billion of assets in the Midwest, South or Southwest. "The perfect situation for us would be a bank that is in a secondary market that has a very stable deposit franchise, low cost of funds, [and] low overhead," he said.
As Graft spoke, a slide highlighting the states Triumph Bancorp would consider entering was displayed on a screen behind him. The highlighted area included Tennessee.
Triumph Bancshares is also expanding rapidly. It topped $500 million of assets in September and appears to be well on its way toward hitting its growth target of $700 million in assets by the end of next year.
Both Triumphs share the name with a third banking company. The $63 million-asset Triumph State Bank in Trimont, Minn., opened in 1901, making it more than a century older than the other banks.