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American Bankers Association

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The American Bankers Association (ABA) is comprised of banks and other financial institutions. It seeks to promote the strength and profitability of the banking industry by LOBBYING federal and state governments, building industry consensus on key issues, and providing products and services, including public affairs support and legal services, to its member banks. Membership in the ABA includes community, regional, and money-center banks (the nation's major banks) and holding companies, as well as savings associations, trust companies, and savings banks. The ABA, which was founded in 1875, is the largest banking trade association in the United States, with 95 percent of the commercial banking industry as members. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

The ABA places great emphasis on representing the interests of banks before Congress and state legislatures. It takes stands on banking and bank-related bills as they move through Congress, attempts to influence the interpretations of laws and regulations by banking regulators, and is actively involved in state litigation that has implications for the banking industry. Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, ABA representatives frequently testified before Congress, filed official letters of comment, and sponsored trips by state associations to the nation's capital. During this time, Bank Pac, the banking industry's POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE and one of the strongest committees nationwide, raised and distributed millions of dollars for congressional elections. ABA fought legislative efforts to regulate the fees banks charge customers to use automated teller machines (ATM) and has challenged in court the membership policies used by credit unions to gain customers. ABA also became involved in such issues as ATM accessibility for blind persons, predatory lending practices, SOCIAL SECURITY reform, and MONEY LAUNDERING.

The ABA operates the American Institute for Banking (AIB), which is the largest provider of banking education. The AIB teaches more than 100,000 students annually. In addition, the ABA sponsors approximately 24 residential schools with 3,700 students covering specialty areas within banking and the prestigious Stonier Graduate School of Banking. New technology has provided new opportunities as well. American Financial Skylink is a satellite TELECOMMUNICATIONS network that delivers news, information, and training directly to banks through regular telecasts.

Other ABA affiliates include the following: ABA eCom, which facilitates electronic banking and commerce over the INTERNET; the ABA Education Foundation, which provides resources for consumer education; and the ABA Marketing Network (ABAMN), which informs and educates banks in the marketing of their products and services. The ABA Securities Association assists sections of the banking industry that are competing in the securities business.

Though the ABA is a nonprofit organization, it operates the for-profit Corporation for American Banking (CAB). CAB was created to facilitate group buying of services, allowing participating banks to receive CAB-arranged discounts on long-distance telephone service, overnight package delivery, office products, and copying products.

FURTHER READINGS

American Bankers Association. Available online at <www.aba.com> (accessed May 29, 2003).

Lovett, William A. 2000. Banking & Financial Institutions Law in a Nutshell. St. Paul, Minn.: West Wadsworth.

Malloy, Michael A. 1999. Banking Regulation. St. Paul, Minn.: West Wadsworth.

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