Building a Bigger Umbrella. (Briefing)

Article excerpt

MY TRAVELS AS ABA PRESIDENT THIS year have taken me to many dozens of banking conferences and Town Meetings, state bankers association conventions and both formal and informal gatherings of bankers from coast to coast. Along the way, I've grown to appreciate our industry's rich variety of people, opinions and ideas.

I've concluded that there is no "typical" banker--if there ever was one--no single perspective on every issue, nor any image or stereotype that captures banking in a single phrase or snapshot.

Bankers are a diverse group, and our membership reflects that.

Your ABA is charged with gathering that broad diversity together to create an industry consensus on the key government-relations issues. It's also our goal to develop resources to serve our industry's many and expanding business, informational and educational needs. That's exactly what ABA has been trying to do.

When you think "ABA," we want you to think of the one place where you can find quality industry solutions, advocacy and leadership. Resources that help your institution compete and serve its customers. To accomplish that not insubstantial mission, ABA has gained a number of special affiliates and formed partnerships with other organizations and service providers.

For example, ABA created the American Bankers Insurance Association and the ABA Center of Community Development. ABA operates a Center for Securities, Trust and Investments, Subchapter S Registry, and Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking. On major issues in Washington, we've worked through inter-industry groups like the Financial Services Coordinating Council.

Clout counts in Washington. If you don't have it, you can't make an impact. ABA'S consistent ranking over time as a member of Fortune magazine's elite "Power 25," a list of the most influential trade associations in the Nation's Capital, means the ABA has that clout. …