WASHINGTON -- The Independent Bankers Association of America voted over the week-end to admit thrifts as full members, but the nation's largest thrift trade group expressed confidence that its ranks would not be hurt.

The IBAA would permit thrift membership on a state-by-state basis, leaving it up to its state affiliates to decide whether to allow thrifts to join. In states that decided to open up their ranks, thrifts would be eligible to join the IBAA as full members.

|Our Members Are Satisfied'

"Based on what we have learned from our members, they are satisfied with what we are doing," said Robert Schmermund, a spokesman for the Savings and Community Bankers of America, the thrift trade group.

Currently, about 100 thrifts are associate members of the IBAA, a status that gives them access to services from the trade group, but that does not permit them to vote on officers.

Stephen J. Verdier, senior legislative counsel for the IBAA, said he expects some of those thrifts to relinquish membership in the Savings and Community Bankers group.

"If they think IBAA services are better than the SCBA's, they might well drop that membership," he said. "If they like some SCBA services and some IBAA services, they might keep both."

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