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MINNEAPOLIS – Northwest Airlines and NWA Federal Credit Union recently agreed to new lease terms that will keep credit union offices and ATMs in place inside Northwest Airlines facilities. The original lease, set to expire in March, has a term of three years at market rates, said Paul Parish, president/CEO of the $1.3 billion NWA FCU. Offices covered by this lease include four in the Twin Cities, one in Chisholm, Minn., and one in Detroit. ATMs covered by the agreement are located in the Twin Cities, Chisholm, Duluth, Anchorage, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tampa, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Seattle. “We’re pleased to have reached agreement with Northwest Airlines. Our new lease will enable us to continue to provide the high level of service our member/owners have come to expect,” Parish said. In March 2003, Northwest Airlines threatened to evict NWA from its offices if royalty and licensing fees for logo and trademark use were not paid. The airline agreed last May to extend the July 5, 2003 subleases of several properties occupied by the credit union to March 21, 2004. At the time, NWA FCU paid the airline rent for seven offices, including four in Minneapolis and 23 ATMs at Northwest facilities across the nation. Parish said the royalty and licensing fees would cost the credit union $6 million annually – “equal to more than half our net income.” NCUA has backed the credit union’s decision on not paying the fees. Last May, NCUA Region Five Director Jane Walters wrote the credit union stating that based on information provided by NWA, “Northwest has no right requesting compensation to serve this field of membership, nor is (the credit union) authorized to pay for access to serve eligible members.” Meanwhile, a suit filed last spring by Northwest Airlines over claims to the logos and trademarks used by the credit union is still pending. In a Jan. 19, 2004 letter to Northwest Airlines employees, President Doug Steenland wrote “the credit union asserts that it owns the rights to use various Northwest trademarks and that it is free to continue to use them even without Northwest’s permission” (CU Times, Feb. 11, 2004). Parish has asserted all along that the credit union has owned trademarks on the NWA Federal Credit Union name since 1988 and has used a variety of Northwest logos, trademarks and aircraft images with the company’s knowledge and go-ahead for nearly seven decades. [email protected]

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