The trade association business, like all businesses, is in a state of constant change. The models and issues of the past are not the models and issues of the future. As industries become more specialized, so do the trade associations that serve them. More and more, issues separate businesses and their associations into a variety of camps, each subscribing to different opinions and, therefore, solutions.
In the banking sector, there are three main national trade associations that represent a wide range of financial institutions. The Financial Services Roundtable represents the very largest institutions. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) represents the very smallest institutions. And the American Bankers Association (ABA) represents the full spectrum. At times these organizations have similar agendas and priorities, but at other times their viewpoints are vastly different.
The Indiana Bankers Association works closely with both ABA and ICBA. Both of those organizations have state affiliates that they rely on, and their memberships are made up primarily of banks that are eligible to belong to both ICBA and ABA. IBA’s close connection with each association makes us privy to the positions and reasoning behind the positions that they take. Consequently IBA is able to adopt positions that, we believe, are in the best interest of Indiana banks.
For instance earlier this year ICBA began promoting support of extending the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program that provides 100 percent FDIC insurance to noninterest-bearing demand deposit accounts, scheduled to sunset on Dec. 31, 2012. After careful analysis, IBA adopted the ICBA position. ABA was neutral, while awaiting additional information from the FDIC. For the most part, those bankers in support of the extension constitute a slight majority, and they tend to feel more strongly about their position.
Recently there has been a development. On Monday ABA voted to support the extension. Though ICBA and ABA vary somewhat on the details, the fact that both are now officially in support enhances the possibility of passage. Even so, passage is a long shot, because there are few legislative days remaining in this contentious election year. Grassroots support from bankers will be key to any hope of passing the extension.
On this issue, ICBA, ABA, IBA and many state associations across the country are in lockstep, yet the power to make this extension happen will come from our members. One constant in the trade association business—in the past, now, and in the future—is that the power of the association rests squarely with the commitment of the members.