South Carolina Federal Defends ‘Every Day is Bank Transfer Day’ Trademark in Vermont Dispute
A South Carolina credit union has asked Vermont regulators not to include the “Every Day is Bank Transfer Day” brand in the ongoing fray over use of the words “bank” and “banking” in the New England state.
An attorney for the $1.3 billion South Carolina Federal Credit Union in North Charleston, S.C., said Monday that he spoke with a Vermont regulator who told him that any legal opinion on the matter would have to come from Steven Kimbell, commissioner of the state’s Department of Financial Regulation.
Kimbell is planning to hear arguments later this month on his proposed bank-backed cease-and-desist order that would stop the $600 million Vermont State Employees Credit Union from using the words “bank” and “banking” in its marketing.
The South Carolina credit union, along with that state’s league and CUNA, began pushing “Every Day is Bank Transfer Day” as a marketing brand after last November’s Bank Transfer Day initiative.
Scores of credit unions across the country have begun using the trademarked slogan but it is unclear if any are in Vermont.
Troy Hall, chief operations officer at South Carolina Federal, said users of the “Every Day” brand wanted to ensure the brand can be used in Vermont and elsewhere.
“After reading the latest press and editorials on what is going on in Vermont, we realized that credit unions already have a recognized trademark out there that speaks exactly to this issue and so our goal is to make sure that others know it as well,” Hall said.
The credit union’s attorney, William Cannon, an intellectual property specialist with Parker Poe in Raleigh, N.C., said Monday that his conversation was with Thomas Candon, DFR deputy commissioner.
“I had a very nice conversation with Candon on Friday but he said any legal opinion on ‘Every Day Is Bank Transfer Day’ would have to come from the commissioner himself,” Cannon said.
He also said that Candon expressed his dismay that credit unions “felt being attacked” but that the state’s prime concern remains on VESCU calling itself a “banking cooperative.”
Kimbell has scheduled a preliminary conference on Aug. 22 with a full hearing expected to follow about a week later. VSECU has been joined by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions and CUNA in objecting to the proposed order.