The California Bankers Association and the Western Independent Bankers are planning to merge.

The Western Independent Bankers, a group with regional membership, would merge into the California Bankers Association, pending approval from member banks. The combined group would be named the Western Bankers Association.

Simone Lagomarsino, the CBA's president and CEO and the former leader of Heritage Oaks Bank, would lead the combined association. The board would expand to include six WIB directors who represent banks outside of California.

The California Bankers Association, led by CEO Simone Lagomarsino, plans to absorb the Western Independent Bankers in a merger expected to close later this year.

David Joves, the Western Independent Bankers' chairman and senior vice president of the California region for the Bank of Guam, is to join the WBA's executive committee.

The associations' names and professional objectives would be retained as divisions of the WBA. The CBA will handle state, federal and regulatory advocacy activities, while the WIB would oversee conference and educational efforts. The group would serve nearly 250 members, the associations said in a press release.

“We intend to preserve the legacies of both associations as we merge, and we will work together to create an even stronger organization that leverages the unique strengths of the CBA and the WIB,” Lagomarsino said in the release.

Michael Delucchi, WIB's chief executive, would become the senior vice president and executive director of the WIB division. In that role, he would continue to direct training and educational programs for banks throughout 13 western states and U.S. territories.

“Changes to the banking landscape occur every day, and this merger will allow the new organization to address and focus on the critical needs facing all our members,” Delucchi said in the release. “The WIB will continue to deliver our dynamic conferences, training seminars and more than 250 webinars, and we will also incorporate the conferences and educational offerings CBA has historically offered.”

The groups’ members will vote later this month. If the merger is approved, the groups expect the merger to complete it by the end of this year.

Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips advised the CBA. Stinson Leonard Street advised the WIB.

Banking trade groups have merged before.

The American Bankers Association and America’s Community Bankers joined forces in 2007. The Community Bankers Association of North Carolina was absorbed by the North Carolina Bankers Association in 1997.

The Virginia Bankers Association and West Virginia Bankers Association discussed a merger in 2014, but it was eventually called off.

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