- Truist has spent $125 million on its new brand, the bank said in a court filing Friday, according to The Charlotte Observer. That breaks down to $7 million to create the name; $4 million for it to be approved by regulators and shareholders; $40 million to configure operating systems to reflect the new branding; and $75 million in marketing.
- The bank disclosed the cost in a court document tied to an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit Truliant Federal Credit Union filed against it last year. Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Truliant in February requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the bank from using the name while the case is open.
- Truist said it would cost $34 million — and take six to nine months — to change its name again. That action would also be subject to a shareholder vote.
BB&T and SunTrust merged in December to form Truist, the nation’s sixth-largest bank.
The crux of Truliant’s complaint lies in Truist’s use of "tru" in its name. The credit union has argued the bank’s new name represents "clear and intentional appropriation" of the Truliant brand. Truist, however, has asserted more than 7,460 federal registrations use the prefix, and a "three-letter overlap is insufficient to warrant extraordinary relief."
Apart from the cost of rebranding, Truist said in its court filing "a second name change — no matter how well orchestrated — will extensively damage Truist’s reputation."
"After informing clients and the public that BB&T and SunTrust are 'Now Truist,' switching would undermine those relationships," the bank said.
The credit union this year commissioned a University of North Carolina professor to research potential marketplace confusion between the brands. Charlotte-based Truist’s footprint overlaps with that of Truliant.
The research found a 37.8% net likelihood of confusion among consumers within Truliant’s geographic field of membership, according to American Banker. Truist, claiming the research was biased and didn’t demonstrate actionable confusion, responded with its own survey, which found confusion was at 3% or less.
The rebranding, to include the renaming of the Atlanta Braves’ baseball stadium, "has been well received," Truist said. "The legacy banks’ goodwill will not transfer as well to a new name."
Truliant, however, said it would fight as long as it must.
"Despite the investment which the defendants have made in the development of a new name, we remain steadfast behind the facts of the case which demonstrate the strength and vitality of the Truliant name," a Truliant representative said, according to American Banker. "We plan to continue protecting it as any business would."