Magazine article American Banker

Disputes Remain as Texas Bank Groups Weigh Merger

Magazine article American Banker

Disputes Remain as Texas Bank Groups Weigh Merger

Article excerpt

Hoping to save money and create a stronger lobbying voice, the Texas Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas are considering a merger.

The two trade groups, which together represent about 800 banks, have been discussing a union for about six months. But talks heated up during the Independent Bankers' annual convention here this week when the trade group's general membership discussed it for the first time.

"It is extremely important that we all listen at this time," Christopher L. Williston, president and chief executive officer of the group, told its members at a general session Monday. "All of the issues will be debated."

Members of the independent trade group, who may vote on an official merger proposal by yearend, were divided on the issue.

Some, such as Don F. Duffield, president and CEO of First National Bank of Weatherford, said the groups would save money on educational programming and publications if they joined. And bankers would be more effective if they lobbied with a single voice in the Texas Legislature, he said.

But others who view the Texas Bankers Association as too big-bank- friendly said they want to retain a separate voice. Two bankers from West Texas, who asked not to be identified, said they dropped their memberships in the Texas Bankers Association in 1989 after the two groups lined up on opposite sides of the interstate branching issue.

About 80% of the Independent Bankers' members also pay dues to the Texas Bankers Association, but Mr. …

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