Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Like Their Members, Trade Groups Must Change

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Like Their Members, Trade Groups Must Change

Article excerpt

It's been a fantastic year for me personally. I really mean that. I've heard from and met with thousands of bankers across the country during my year as ABA president.

Many of you wrote to me. Others came to the ABA town meetings or talked with me during my trips to the state association conventions and other industry meetings.

I heard a lot, and I learned a lot. Bankers have really good ideas about how ABA and our industry can work better and smarter on the issues that matter most to us.

One thing that I learned--and this was expressed in almost every forum I attended--is that bankers want their industry's trade associations to work together, not at one another's throats.

Counting the state associations, there are some 200 trade associations representing banks, thrifts, and related businesses today. That's a lot. Maybe too many. But the net of that is the trade associations that want to survive are redefining their mission, adopting new strategies for recruiting members, offering membership to institutions outside the commercial-bank family, and, in some cases, merging and changing their names to reflect their members' needs.

The changes speak for themselves. Since the mid-1980s, state bankers associations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Tennessee have merged with their savings-bank counterparts. State banker groups from Montana to Tennessee and New Jersey to Texas-- nearly 20 in all--have moved to accept thrifts in some membership capacity. Other state associations, like Florida, are exploring merger opportunities with their thrift counterparts, and a few state associations even offer membership to credit unions.

Things have been changing on the national level, too. Take the S&L groups. First the old National Council of Savings Institutions changed its name to the National Council of Community Bankers. Then it merged with its former rival, the U.S. League of Savings Institutions. Now together they make up the Savings and Community Bankers of America.

In banking, the Association of Reserve City Bankers and Association of Bank Holding Companies completed their merger this summer. …

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