WASHINGTON - The thrift industry's trade group is changing its name to America's Community Bankers, galling the Independent Bankers Association of America.

"They're trying to be what we are," said IBAA executive director Diane Casey. "IBAA has been here for 63 years, and we have, do, and will continue to represent community banks."

The Savings and Community Bankers of America's new name won't be formally adopted until Sunday, when the thrift group's board meets. But SCBA spokesman Robert Schmermund confirmed that a name change is in the works.

"The vote has yet to be taken, but the proposed name is a better reflection of what we're about," said Mr. Schmermund.

The trade group became SCBA in mid-1992 after the National Council of Savings Institutions merged with the U.S. League of Savings Institutions.

"SCBA seemed like a good transitional name at the time," Mr. Schmermund said. But the group's membership has evolved, he explained, and a majority consider themselves community bankers even though they hold thrift charters.

"I don't think it is charter specific," Mr. Schmermund said. "I think it's the business they're in."

The IBAA took after SCBA in its newsletter to members this week.

"When you hear the name 'America's Community Bankers,' please think, ah yes, the S&L lobby," it reads. "This new attractive label should not be allowed to camouflage the underlying product."

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