The Independent Bankers Association of America may soon get a new name.

Members will vote in March at the annual convention to rechristen the group as the Independent Community Bankers of America, executive vice president Kenneth A. Guenther said last week.

The group's nearly 100-member board endorsed the new name this fall, arguing it would let the association capitalize on the public image advantage that community banks enjoy over large institutions.

"The word 'independent' does not resonate like the word 'community' does," Mr. Guenther said. Nor does it "adequately characterize that this is an association of only community banks." Moreover, the IBAA was irked that the thrift trade group adopted the moniker America's Community Bankers about four years ago.

But Paul A. Schosberg, president of the thrift group, responded that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" and that the term at issue is more apt for his association. "We have a much more diverse universe of members, virtually all of whom represent themselves and their business strategy as community banking."

Speaking of labels, Assistant Treasury Secretary Richard S. Carnell contends that "financial modernization" is the wrong term for the reforms that Congress nearly adopted this year and will address again next session.

"Real financial modernization occurs in the marketplace. It's a business practice, not a political practice," Mr. Carnell told the Stanford University Center for Economic Policy Research last week.

"The question for legislators is how they're going to respond to the financial modernization that has already occurred."

Timothy R. McTaggart, the Delaware Commissioner of Financial Institutions and chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors' Regulatory Committee, is returning to Washington.

On Jan. 18, he will report for work in the Washington office of Boston law firm Peabody & Brown, specializing compliance.

John M. Heasley, general counsel of the Texas Bankers Association and a former House Banking Committee staff member, reportedly has declined an offer to be the Senate Banking Committee's top lawyer. He did not return calls seeking comment. Jim Hyland, the legislative director for defeated Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., is a strong contender for the job.

Giving the Banking Committee another close tie to the new House leaders, Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., has been chosen to be co-chairwoman of the transition team for Speaker-designate Bob Livingston.

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