After 15 years of keeping nonbank rivals at a distance, the American Bankers Association's card conference planners put two big ones on their 1995 New York program.

Anne Busquet, executive vice president of charge card marketing at American Express, and John Delany, divisional vice president of credit marketing at Sears, will participate in a Sept. 12 panel discussion of brand identity. (Mr. Delany is replacing executive vice president Jane Thompson, who had to cancel.)

They follow in the distant footsteps of American Express chairman James Robinson and Merrill Lynch chairman Donald Regan, who appeared in 1980, also in New York.

James Shanahan, consultant to the ABA, said that if not for a schedule conflict, he would also have snared someone from Discover. He noted a growing desire to be open-minded and "not put our heads in the sand."

"We're all part of the same industry, and there's a definite desire to be exposed to everybody's thinking," said ABA bank card executive committee chairman Keith Coughey of PNC Bank.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Busquet at American Express said she is "pleased to participate" and discuss "a compelling subject that impacts everyone in our industry. ... We can add a valuable perspective to the discussion."

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