After saying last week that its annual convention would go on as scheduled, the American Bankers Association decided Wednesday to cancel the event for the first time since World War II.

Donald G. Ogilvie, the trade group’s executive vice president, said its executive board talked to many members, and then voted unanimously to cancel four-day conference, which was to start Sept. 30 in Palm Desert, Calif.

“Basically we listened hard to the President’s message to get back to work, and getting back to work means bankers should be at the helms of their banks, meeting the financial needs of the community,” Mr. Ogilvie said.

The uncertainty of air travel and the general apprehension about flying was also taken into consideration, but Mr. Ogilvie said it was not the main reason for the cancellation.

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