Philadelphia bank wins Citizens' name game

By By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
July 18, 2001
U.S. District Judge Tom Lee has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Citizens National Bank, potentially ending a six-year dispute with The Citizens Bank over the similarity of the names.
The decision came Monday without a trial, when Lee granted a motion for summary judgment from The Citizens Bank.
The two banks clashed in 1995 when The Citizens Bank, headquartered in Philadelphia, opened a loan production office in Meridian. Officials of Meridian's Citizens National Bank, which had opened a branch office in Philadelphia in 1985, said the similarity of the names was confusing to customers.
Citizens National Bank ultimately filed suit, seeking to prevent the Philadelphia bank from doing business in Lauderdale County under that name.
Steve Webb, president and CEO of The Citizens Bank, said he plans to expand his Meridian location immediately.
Webb said the bank's future includes a move to larger offices, but that he has no immediate plans to build a new building.
Meanwhile, Citizens National Bank officials say they have not decided whether to appeal Judge Lee's decision. Archie McDonnell Jr. is the president and CEO.
McDonnell said the disagreement is not about whether The Citizens Bank has the right to operate a local branch.
McDonnell and Citizens National Bank's board of directors have 30 days to file an appeal.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.

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