The Bankers Roundtable this week tapped its general counsel, Richard M. Whiting, to be acting executive director. He is expected to lead the big-bank group for at least four months and possibly longer while the Roundtable reassesses its membership criteria.

The trade group has historically served chief executives of the 125 largest bank holding companies, but the Roundtable is considering broadening its base to include securities and insurance companies.

"The association is in the process of determining where it fits in the financial services industry," Mr. Whiting said. "We're reevaluating exactly what role we should have in the broader marketplace."

The Roundtable was formed in 1993 by the merger of Reserve City Bankers and the Association of Bank Holding Companies. Mr. Whiting, 50, joined the holding company group 15 years ago.

Anthony T. Cluff got the top job when the two groups combined. Last March he announced plans to retire. The Roundtable launched a search with the idea of hiring someone with political clout. The job was offered to former Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., but he recently joined the Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld law firm.

With the search stymied and Mr. Cluff eager to leave, the Roundtable's board turned to Mr. Whiting. He may end up managing the organization while a big name is hired to build its lobbying muscle. "It's not out of the realm of possibility that I would end up with either the total job or a large part of the job," he said Thursday.

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