John S. Rippey abruptly resigned from the Bankers Roundtable this week after 22 years of lobbying for the trade group and its predecessor.

"I've been doing this stuff since the early '60s, so it's 30-plus years in the same line of work," Mr. Rippey said Wednesday. "It's time for a change."

Mr. Rippey, 59, took early retirement and plans to spend more time on his 28-foot Boston Whaler-a high-powered, oceangoing fishing boat. "I didn't run it more than six hours in '96, and that's a sin," Mr. Rippey said. "If worse comes to worst, I'll live aboard."

Mr. Rippey surprised his colleagues by coming in last weekend, cleaning out his desk, and leaving a letter of resignation on Anthony T. Cluff's desk.

Mr. Cluff, executive director of the Bankers Roundtable, praised Mr. Rippey. "John capped off a long and distinguished career in Washington by successfully coordinating industry efforts to pass an interstate banking bill in 1994, and most recently by laying the groundwork for implementing the Roundtable's initiatives in electronic banking," he said.

After handling congressional affairs at the Federal Reserve Board, Mr. Rippey joined the Association of Bank Holding Companies in the mid-1970s. That group merged with Reserve City Bankers in June 1993 to form the Bankers Roundtable. Mr. Rippey continued to lead the merged group's lobbying team until March 1994 when Alfred Pollard was hired.

Last fall, Mr. Rippey shifted gears and became acting chief executive officer of the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat, which the Roundtable created to promote electronic banking.

The secretariat is to hold its second board meeting next month in Chicago and is aiming to hire a full-time CEO by April 1.

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