programs, publications, conventions, and for-profit affiliates to turn in solid - though unspectacular - revenue increases in 1994. In an American Banker survey, total revenue for seven major industry trade groups totaled $148 million last year, a 5.7% increase over the $140 million raised in 1993. Big gainers included the Credit Union National Association, whose revenues rose by 35.9%, to $28.8 million, and the Independent Bankers Association of America, whose revenues increased 16.5%, to $11 million. While five of the seven groups increased revenues in 1994, two saw their fortunes decline. America's Community Bankers raised $900,000 less, for a 4.2% drop, and the Independent Insurance Agents of America raised $1.4 million less in 1994 than in 1993, for a 12.6% drop. Trade associations continued to wean themselves from membership dues, their most traditional revenue source. The seven groups raised $63 million from dues in 1994, 1%, more than in 1993. Most of the $8 million increase in total revenue for the groups can be attributed to program services, which generated $5.2 million more revenue in 1994 than in 1993, a 10.2% increase. This broad category includes money raised from conventions, educational programs, newsletter subscriptions, software, seminars, and other activities designed to fulfill members' needs. The Credit Union National Association saw the greatest gain in program service revenue, jumping $1.5 million, or 18.9%, mostly from conferences, educational seminars and publications. Jerome Rather, CUNA's controller, said these programs are mutually beneficial, bringing in dollars for the association while educating and informing its members. "It's basically a matter of offering products and services that the credit union leagues and credit unions want," he said. "We're just tailoring our programs to helping them do their jobs better." To further counter the stagnant dues base, the trade groups have sought revenues from other sources unrelated to their programs, such as investments and affiliated companies. The Independent Bankers Association experienced the biggest percentage rise in revenues from other sources, which totaled $2.9 million in 1994, for a 35.6% increase over the previous year. "This increase is primarily a function of the for-profit subsidiaries of the IBAA, which had an excellent year," said Kenneth Guenther, the group's executive vice president. The credit card subsidiary has been one of the IBAA's mainstays over the last few years. "Banks continue to be attracted to the world where they can issue their own cards and earn the fees and income off the cards that they issue," Mr. Guenther said. He reported that bank cards are "emerging as a very attractive profit center - and that profit center will continue to grow and expand." Conferences and conventions also have developed into an even more profitable revenue source. In 1993, for instance, the five trade groups that reported those figures spent $14.8 million and raised $19.8 million in revenues from conferences and conventions, for a relatively strong 34% return. But in 1994, the trade groups spent $14.9 million-just a fraction more- on conferences and conventions, while revenues rose to $21.7 million, for a yet heftier 46% return. "The conference business is one of the most significant revenue sources we've had," said Bob Wallgren, finance director for the American Bankers Association, which reported a whopping 82% return on its conferences. Mr. Serb writes for the Medill News Service.
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