Australian credit union wins case over words ‘community bank’

'Mutuals are the original community lending model, they are owned by their members and have always put the community before profit'

Community First Credit Union, which is operates in and around Sydney, Australia, has won a case against a bank which had trademarked the words ‘community bank’.

For two decades, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has maintained court injunction that would stop any rival using words ‘community bank’ in name or marketing collateral – giving it a monopoly on the term.

But last month, Federal Court Justice Brigitte Markovic ruled that Bendigo Bank must deregister the trademark that includes the words ‘community bank’.

The decision goes on to grant Community First the ability to register the words ‘community bank’ in its name.

The Business Council for Credit Unions and Mutuals welcomed the news. Chief executive Melina Morrison said: “We are delighted that the Federal Court has recognised Community First Credit Union for the community focus they have and that they can finally describe their business model for what it is – real community banking.”

She added: “Mutuals are the original community lending model, they are owned by their members and have always put the community before profit. We are pleased the courts have removed this unfair restriction by a publicly listed bank against a community owned bank.

“The ability of Community First Credit Union to properly describe their business model has rightly been prioritised over the marketing strategy of a listed bank.”

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