In response to a trademark infringement suit filed by Michigan First Credit Union, First Michigan Bank said the claims are without merit and it intends to defend its name.
"First Michigan Bank rejects the claims made by Michigan First Credit Union in a press release issued today regarding their lawsuit against us, alleging that our name is likely to create confusion in the market place with their name," wrote David Provost, chairman and president/CEO of First Michigan Bank in a July 8 statement provided to Credit Union Times.
Provost said "those claims are absolutely baseless" and the use of the First Michigan Bank name "does not create any likelihood of confusion, particularly given the differences in the marks, the weakness and lack of distinctiveness of Michigan First Credit Union's claimed marks, and the large number of financial institutions that use the terms 'First' and 'Michigan' in their names in varying ways."
After filing a suit May 12, the $550 million Michigan First Credit Union said it is moving forward against First Michigan Bank for trademark infringement. Provost said the bank "intends to defend this suit vigorously."
"Michigan-based consumers of financial services are discriminating customers who understand the difference between a bank and a credit union, and who seek out the highest level of personal service for the most reasonable price. That is the basis on which First Michigan Bank does business," Provost wrote.