Amid an acceleration in bank insurance activity, the Financial Institutions Insurance Association is setting up house on its own.

The trade group, which has relied on a management firm for a wide range of services since it was started in 1987, last week announced that it is bringing administrative chores in-house, effective Dec. 1.

One reason for the change: The group's rapid growth has given it the strength to stand on its own, said chairman Richard D. Starr.

The group now boasts 350 members, up from about 240 one year ago, Mr. Starr said in a telephone interview. Members are roughly evenly split between financial institutions and vendors, and the group has contacts with 2,500 people in those organizations.

Mr. Starr credited much of the growth to Alice Berreyesa, executive director since early 1993, and said she would remain in that role, leading a full-time staff of four.

He said membership dues increases are not planned, dues range from $500 for small financial institutions and state banking associations to $1,000 for vendors.

The group, he added, would continue its strong emphasis on pursuing expanded insurance powers for banks and opposing state rules that limit bank powers.

Mr. Starr characterized the group's split from its management firm, Bankers Institute, as amicable. The institute, based in Corte Madera, Calif., also operates the Bank Securities Association and the On-Line Banking Association.

The insurance association hopes to stay in Corte Madera, possibly in the same office complex.

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