Will The Real ‘Vista Bank’ In Texas Please Step Forward

Fight looms, confusion inevitable as
two Texas banks now share ‘Vista’ name

“We changed our name to soar above the crowd…to set ourselves apart.”
– Security State Bank

A new website for Security State Bank & Trust says the bank changed names to “soar above the crowd” and to “set ourselves apart.” But there’s a problem. The name they picked, Vista Bank of Texas, is almost identical to another bank in the same state, Vista Bank Texas.

Key Question: Who was first?

It’s hard to say.

Vista #1: Vista Bank Texas
Service Area: 6 branches around Houston
Claim to Name: It doesn’t look like this bank had been using the Vista name for very long. They launched their current website in December 2007.

Vista #2: Vista Bank of Texas
Service Area: 8 branches around the Texas panhandle
Claim to Name: In their trademark application on file with the US Patent & Trademark Office, they say the first time they used the name was June 2008. (View the USPTO trademark entry.)

Bottom Line: This may be a case of unfortunate timing and a terrible coincidence, but these banks are in for big trouble. It doesn’t matter that they are 500 miles apart. In today’s wired world, people are going to get confused.

Prediction: Financial trademark lawsuit in 3…2…1…

And it all may boil down to a difference of just six months and the simple preposition “of.” Maybe one of them should have put “First” in their name so we’d know which was the First Vista Bank of Texas. Joking. Just joking…

A creative solution to the problem would be for the two Vista Banks in Texas to merge, or create some sort of shared branching concept. Maybe you’ve heard the old adage, “The quickest way to eliminate my enemy is to call him my friend?” Don’t hold your breath though. This isn’t very likely.

A credit union in California holds the trademark for the word “Vista” in the USPTO’s financial services category, but a merger in 2007 between Vista FCU and Partners Credit Union name may make the trademark moot. Because the merged credit unions kept the “Partners” name, it’s unlikely either of them will step-up to defend this trademark.

More on the “Vista” name:

  • It appears that Security State Bank & Trust bought their new URL, www.vistabank.com, for around $2,000 from a cybersquatter. The domain had been put up for sale after another Vista Bank gave it up a few years ago.
  • Ironically, Security State Bank & Trust was also a name that was shared by at least two banks — the one that just became Vista Bank of Texas and another one in Montana.
  • There is another Vista Bank in South Carolina.

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