ORLANDO, Fla. — The Independent Community Bankers of America is straying from tradition, deciding against having top regulators present at this year's annual conference.

The lobbying group's general sessions are packed with bankers, advisers, presidential hopefuls and all-star athletes.

The change is intentional, Camden Fine, the ICBA's chief executive, said in an interview Monday. The rationale is simple: Regulators will be front and center at the group's Washington Policy Summit, set for April 28 to May 1 in Washington.

Having an entire conference focusing on policy makes much more sense than having regulators fly in for "a 20-minute speech," Fine said.

"The policymakers, whether they're heads of the regulatory agencies or members of Congress, are more accessible and more relaxed in Washington," Fine said. "They can spend more time with us and there is more opportunity for one-on-ones."

The Washington conference will feature Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who chairs the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, who chairs the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee; Federal Reserve Board Gov. Daniel Tarullo; Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry.

Fine said the Washington Policy Summit's attendance is shaping up to be similar in size to the annual convention, which is expected to draw nearly 3,000 people. The Washington event is free to bankers.

The ICBA decided to gear its annual convention toward education rather than policy. "The annual convention speaker lineup will largely be industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs and different people who are influential in the industry," Fine said. 

Monday's program is packed with workshops. On Tuesday, general session speakers include Fine and Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina is a potential Republican Presidential candidate for 2016. 

Tuesday's speakers include outgoing ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster and incoming Chairman Jack Hartings, as well as former "Meet the Press" host David Gregory and Cal Ripken Jr., the Hall of Fame shortstop and third baseman who spent 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. 

The annual convention has a couple of regulatory workshops, including a "regulatory hot stuff" session where representatives from the Fed, FDIC and OCC will cover a variety of topics A separate compliance-related session with regulators was closed to the press.

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