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Louisiana bank sues local after it expands

by Lynn LaRowe | December 3, 2017 at 5:09 a.m. | Updated December 3, 2017 at 4:57 a.m.

A Louisiana-based bank is suing Texarkana-based Red River Federal Credit Union for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Red River Bancshares Inc. and its licensee, Red River Bank LSCB, both based in Alexandria, La., filed suit Oct. 24 in the Western District of Louisiana federal court. At issue is RRFCU's Oct. 2 purchase of "the now liquidated Shreveport Federal Credit Union," which includes branches in Caddo, Bossier, Morehouse and Lincoln parishes in Louisiana and two counties in Mississippi.

"Prior to Oct. 2, 2017, the credit union and RRB coexisted in their respective trade areas without generating any substantial confusion among their members, customers, or the general public," the complaint states.

But now that RRFCU is operating in the same service area as the plaintiffs, the two are in direct competition, especially in Caddo and Bossier parishes, the complaint states. Red River Bancshares and Red River Bank allege RRFCU is causing confusion and that it has fielded calls from customers who mistakenly thought the Louisiana-based bank has taken over Shreveport Federal Credit Union.

The plaintiffs allege RRFCU is infringing on its trademark and engaging in unfair trade practices in violation of federal law and in violation of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The Louisiana bank wants the court to prohibit Texarkana, Texas-based RRFCU from using the names Red River Employees Federal Credit Union, Red River Credit Union and the RRFCU logo "and confusingly similar variants thereof." The Louisiana-based banks are also seeking attorney fees and actual damages and want an accounting of RRFCU's profits in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Texarkana-based Red River Federal Credit Union has until Dec. 11 to file a response to the complaint.


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