As more banks go interstate, the Nebraska Bankers Association is considering whether to do the same.

This month the members endorsed a strategy of teaming up with other state banking groups to offer more extensive educational programs and lower-priced bank products.

The Nebraska group already operates a banking school with its Kansas sibling, but George Beattie, executive vice president, said that relationship could be expanded and alliances with other state groups formed. Such moves, stopping short mergers, could increase revenue for the 325-member revenue group and minimize reliance on dues.

"There is a natural tendency for us to seek economies of scale as the industry consolidates," Mr. Beattie said.

Nebraska's is one of several state banking trade groups considering the benefits of cooperation, said Gary Fields, director of the state associations division of the American Bankers Association. State groups are coming together because as teams they can offer more products and services a lower cost, he said.

"The groups will probably become closer as banks continue interstate branching and membership overlaps," Mr. Fields said.

In February, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and the Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma announced they would merge their education efforts, publications, and vendor services. The partnership is designed to cut costs and increase buying power for the groups' 1,000 members.

The strategy the Nebraska Bankers Association approved at its annual convention this month was drawn up with input from about 100 bankers, Mr. Beattie said. A committee is expected to draft a more detailed plan at an upcoming retreat.

"As a banker," said Philip M. Burns, a former president of the group who is president of Farmers and Merchants National Bank in West Point, Neb., "one of my responsibilities is to look for ways to be more efficient.

"I think trade associations should do the same thing."

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