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July 18, 2012

WTF? What's Next, No "Union"?

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by Ron Daly 

Be careful...someone's trying to prevent you from using the word "banking" to describe your services. 

According an article on today's CUJournal.com, Vermont State Employees CU was ordered by state regulators to stop using the words "bank" and "banking" in any communications. And why would this state regulator do such a thing? 

I'll give you three guesses. 

But the regulator has not changed its position and it is pressing forward, apparently because of continuing complaints from bankers.

Gee, who didn't see that one coming?

This is a crock. What's next? They start saying we're not allowed to use the word "Union" because labor forces complained? How are you supposed to tell people you're "much more than a bank" when you can't say the word "bank"?

In TV commercials and other media, specific advertisers are allowed to call out their competitors by name. How can that be legal and using the word "banking" to describe ONLINE BANKING be worthy of a cease and desist? 

This isn't one of those "'Xerox' is not the same as 'photocopy'" cases. Banking isn't the provence of one business providing a service. It's a word that applies to an entire industry, and it should be the right of everyone in that industry to use it - banks, credit unions, trusts, etc. 

My thoughts? Maybe we shouldn't get mad...maybe we should get even. 

Maybe we start insisting that, due to the nature of our name and in the interest of avoiding market confusion, banks should stop issuing "credit" or "credit cards" or "lines of credit" or "crediting customers' accounts". After all, credit is OUR word, right? 

This isn't the last you'll hear about this...you can BANK on it. 

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