WASHINGTON — Frank Keating, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, is stepping down at the end of the year and a search for his successor has already begun.

A memo obtained by the American Banker said the ABA began preparing for Keating's departure in the fall by forming a Succession Committee and hiring an outside search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, to help with the search.

"This group is already at work guiding the search and recently retained Russell Reynolds Associates to assist us," ABA Chairman John Ikard wrote in the memo to member CEOs. "At the committee's direction, senior partners from Russell Reynolds have been meeting and speaking with many of ABA's key stakeholders, including member bank CEOs, leadership of the ABA-State Association Alliance and ABA executive staff."

The memo added that the search team is in the process of building a list of potential candidates and expects to introduce a newly selected CEO later this year.

Keating joined the ABA in 2010 in the wake of passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. A former two-term governor of Oklahoma, Keating also served in positions at the Housing and Urban Development, Treasury and Justice departments.

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