Looking to boost membership, the Iowa Independent Bankers Association has eliminated first-year dues for start-up banks.

Under revised rules, new banks' memberships with the Iowa Independent Bankers are free for the first year and 50% off for the second. Other banks joining for the first time will also pay half-price for the first year, and all new members will get discounts on their registration fee for the association's annual convention.

The changes are part of a yearlong effort to revamp the trade group after a proposed merger with the Iowa Bankers Association was rejected.

The Iowa Independent Bankers Association is also allowing Iowa-based federal savings banks to join the group for the first time. The trade group wanted to include thrifts because many of the state's new banks have federal savings bank charters and several existing members recently swapped their commercial bank charters for thrift charters, said Donald E. Hole, the group's executive vice president.

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