American Bankers Association

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American Banking Association
American Bankers Association Logo.jpg
Formation 1875 in New York City
Type Industry trade group and Professional association Advocacy group[1]
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Location Washington, D.C.
Region served United States
President Frank Keating
Website [2]

The American Bankers Association (ABA) is a professional association founded in 1875. It represents US banks of all sizes and charters. In general, the ABA is a tool for lobbying for policy and political presence inside Washington D.C..

Historical Events and Accomplishments[edit]

  • On May 24, 1875 James T. Howenstein, cashier of Valley National Bank, invited bankers across the United States to meet in New York City at Barnum hotel to plan a new association of bankers.
  • In July 1875, 349 bankers from 31 states and the District of Columbia met in Saratoga, New York to form the American Bankers Association.[2]
  • On April 2, 1876 ABA testified before the United States Congress for the first time.[2]
  • In 1908, The Office of the General Council was created. Thomas B. Paton became the first General Counsel and leader of the legal department.[2]
  • In 1915 at the ABA Convention bankers organized a new National Bank Section which developed a working relationship with the newly created Federal Reserve. The following year state bank representatives formed the State Bank Section, which included over 8,000 members. The section’s primary focus was to consider the state banks’ relationship with the Federal Reserve.[2]
  • In 1919 the National Bank Section of ABA opened an office in Washington D.C. near the U.S. Treasury.[2]
  • In 1925 the ABA created the Educational Foundation.[2]
  • In June 1935 the ABA’s Graduate School of Banking opened at Rutgers University with 220 students after extensive planning by Dr. Harold Stonier.[2]
  • In 1960 ABA announced the creation of the National Trust School which held its first meeting in at Northwestern University.[2]
  • In 1967 The first ABA computer, an IBM 1460, was installed.[2]
  • In 1971, ABA consolidated its New York and Washington offices to its current location.[2]
  • In 1981 ABA created the Community Bankers Council to represent community bankers on regulatory and legislative issues.[2]
  • In 1982 After the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspended the processing of fingerprint cards, the ABA became the official coordinator of fingerprint identification requests from all depository institutions.[2]
  • In 1983 the ABA merged with the Bank Marketing Association.[2]
  • On December 1, 2007 the ABA and America’s Community Bankers (ACB), two of the industry’s largest trade associations merged, retaining the American Bankers Association name. Diane Casey-Landry, formerly president and CEO of ACB, became ABA senior executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer.[3]
  • On Jan. 1, 2011, Governor Frank Keating became ABA’s president and CEO, following eight years of service as the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, and after serving two terms as Oklahoma's 25th governor.


The ABA is run much like a corporation where there is a Board of Directors with a President and CEO.[4]

Frank Keating[edit]

Frank Keating is the CEO of the American Bankers Association and became the 25th Governor of Oklahoma in 1995. Keating has ties with Washington republicans, serving both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the "Treasury, Justice and Housing departments. His service gave him responsibility for all federal criminal prosecutions in the nation and oversight over agencies such as the Secret Service, U.S. Customs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Marshals, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service and all 94 U.S. Attorneys. As assistant secretary of Treasury and general counsel and acting deputy secretary of HUD, Keating worked on banking issues that are demanding attention today—including housing finance, lending practices, securitization and Bank Secrecy Act issues." according to the ABA webpage of Frank Keating.[5]

The other ABA officer members include:


According to their website, ABA members include banks of all sizes and charters. Its members – the majority of which are banks with less than $125 million in assets – represent over 95 percent of the industry's $13.5 trillion in assets and employ over 2 million men and women.[6]

Professional Development[edit]

ABA provides members with professional development opportunities including conferences, telephone briefings, diplomas and certificates, schools, online training, e-learning and certification from the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB).


The banking industry, financial crisis, Dodd–Frank Act[edit]

The financial crisis of 2007–2010 led to a "sweeping overhaul of the United States financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression."[7] The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act introduced by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, is a 1,500-page law,[8] passed in 2010, changed the Commodity Exchange Act, Consumer Credit Protection Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991, Federal Reserve Act, Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, International Banking Act of 1978, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, Revised Statutes of the United States, Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Truth in Lending Act. OECD analyst explained how through the financial crisis and the regulatory measures introduced post-ciris, questions regarding the role of state versus market in regulation have arisen. The banking industry in general and ABA in particular promote the market approach. Because of the crisis it became clear that innovative innovative but complex financial products or instruments were not benign on consumers, markets and the system as a whole, and they require adequate surveillance. Innovation will continue and financial products will continue to become more sophisticated and more widely accessed.[9][10]

The ABA began lobbying the government when Obama announced his intentions for reform. The ABA spent $4.38 million on lobbying to Congress in the first two quarters of 2011 alone. Consecutively spending $2.36 million for the second quarters of 2010 and 2011. According to Finance "In the April-to-June period, in addition to Congress, the ABA lobbied the White House; the departments of Agriculture, Treasury and Labor; and regulators such as the Federal Reserve, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report, filed with the Secretary of the Senate on July 19."[11]

As soon as the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by president Obama on July 21, 2011, the American Bankers Association announced it would call for revisions.[12] They declared they would continue to lobby for fewer regulations on the Volcker Rule, Derivatives Regulations, and other pieces of the bill.[12]

In his book (2013) entitled Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t, Washington Post editor Robert G. Kaiser revealed events that led over a period of 18 months to the Dodd–Frank Act [13][14]

Education and Public Outreach Programs[edit]

The American Bankers Association website described the Association's many outreach programs that support low income, disadvantaged communities. The Programs the ABA support includes the ABA Education Foundation and the ABA Housing Partners Foundation.[15]

ABA Housing Partners Foundation[edit]

The American Bankers Association website describes their ABA Housing Partners Foundation was formally created in 1991, to help open a soup Kitchen in Washington, D.C., where the headquarters of the ABA are. On the ABA Housing Partnership webpage they state "The Foundation has been enriching the communities that have hosted our annual conventions for 20 years. Throughout that time, the Foundation has honed its mission to promote and provide affordable housing in our local communities across the country." The Foundation also partnered up with Habitat for Humanity in 2001. The ABA has fully funded and help build homes in the cites of New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Chicago, Boston and San Antonio. The cities that host their conventions.[16]

Hurricane Katrina and Bankers-Helping-Bankers Program[edit]

In 2004 Hurricane Katrina struck the United States, reaching the southern states that were along Gulf of Mexico coast. The hurricane had inflicted significant damage to the gulf coast region, including the destruction of much of the City of New Orleans. The hurricane also Destroyed 81 Habitat for Humanity homes through flooding and other hurricane related damage. The New Orleans Chapter of Habitat for Humanity lost their office space, Copier, Records and all the other things that create a business. The American Bankers Association website describes their project to help Habitat, the ABA launched a "New Orleans Habitat for Humanity fund" giving the Habitat Affiliate $25,000 to help rebuild their office's. On January 23, 2006 the ABA gave another $58,000 to the Habitat Chapter to help begin the rebuilding process of New Orleans.[16]


This was another program in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. This fund was specifically created to help bank employees with emergency expenses that came up because of the hurricane. The program granted up to $1000 to defray expenses on food, shelter, evacuation travel expense or home repairs. The American Bankers Association website describes their described their program off with $25,000 by mid-February 2006 the fund had raised $115,000 for 300 bank employees in need.[16]

ABA Education Foundation[edit]

The ABA Education Foundation's mission is to help bankers make their communities better through financial education.[17] The foundation operates two national financial education programs for bankers, Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit.

The American Bankers Association website describes their publication The Spirit of Banking, a monthly e-mail bulletin about financial education, advocates for banker-delivered financial education, such as in-school banks, and represents bankers within the financial education arena, specifically as part of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy's Board of Directors.

The American Bankers Association website describes their how, through its national programs, the ABA Education Foundation has helped more than 72,000 bankers teach personal finance skills to nearly 3.3 million children and young adults. Founded and funded by bankers, the foundation works closely with a board of bankers and is a subsidiary of the American Bankers Association.

The American Bankers Association website describes how their foundation also sponsors a Consumer Information page, with information about banking services, personal finances and more.

ABA Nasdaq Index[edit]

The ABA NASDAQ Community Bank Index (ABAQ) is a market value-weighted index composed of community based financial institutions. The index was launched in December 2003 to bring greater visibility to community banks, and in turn, promote greater market liquidity and fairer valuations. Calculated on both a total return basis and on a price return basis under the symbol ABAQ, it is the most broadly representative stock index for community banks.


  • ABA Banking Journal
  • Community Banker
  • ABA Newsbytes
  • ABA provides over 30 newsletters available to members only.



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m American Bankers Association (2001). "125th Anniversary Timeline."
  3. ^ Nancy Feig and Maria Bruno-Britz, Shaping the Future; Bank Systems & Technology's editors identify some notable industry movers and shakers with opportunities to make a difference in the banking technology world in the coming year, "Bank Systems and Technology", Dec. 1, 2007, Pg. 37.
  4. ^ 2011-2012 ABA board of directors
  5. ^ American Bankers Association website: Frank Kanter
  6. ^ About ABA
  7. ^ Sources:
  8. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 111th Congress (2009–2010) – H.R.4173 – All Information – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Library of Congress. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  9. ^ Lumpkin, Stephen (2010). "Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation". OECD Journal Financial Market Trends (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)) (1). 
  10. ^ Ewing, Jack. The New York Times |url= missing title (help). 
  11. ^ Bank trade group spends $2.36M lobbying in 2Q Sep 30, 2011
  12. ^ a b Khimm, Suzy (November 30, 2011). "Nation's biggest banking lobby wants to reform Dodd-Frank, not kill it". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ Kaiser, Robert G. (2013). Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t. 
  14. ^ Kaiser, Robert G. (5 May 2013). "‘Act of Congress’: How Barney Frank foiled the banking lobby to form a new financial watchdog". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  15. ^ ABA History of Community Outreach
  16. ^ a b c ABA Housing Partners Foundation: History
  17. ^ About ABAEF