Herbert W. Whiteman Jr., set his sights on three initiatives when he took on the presidency of the National Association of Urban Bankers, a Washington-based group that represents the industry's minority professionals.

Mr. Whiteman, 53, vice president for information security at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will put the association's weight behind ideas that have been tried in some cities but which members believe need a nationwide emphasis:

3 High-Priority Programs

* A program to promote first-time homeownership, Mr. Whiteman hopes it will help nonowners to establish creditworthiness and owners who come upon hard times to avoid losing their properties.

* A small-business education program to help entrepreneurs establish businesses and avoid failures.

* Urban rebuilding programs to avoid a repeat of the rioting and resentment in Los Angeles this year.

"We as urban bankers must have a policy and program in place to help the Los Angeles of the world," Mr. Whiteman said, "to help people own a piece of America so they can feel that they are part of this country."

To push such an agenda, Mr. Whiteman plans a meetings with members of Congress to discuss issues, such as the Community Reinvestment Act, that are important to African-Americans.

The group's basic objective is to encourage recruitment of minorities by the financial services field and to promote career advancement. The group gives educational and technical help for minority professionals and helps educate young people about job opportunities.

The associations has recently added seven chapters, including its first in North Carolina. Memberships now totals 2,300 in 40 chapters.

"We have some chapters that need reviving, and I will work along with the regional presidents to help strengthen them and their programs," Mr. Whiteman said in an interview. He wants the entire chapter structure to support his urban aid and education initiatives.

Mr. Whiteman said the group's policies have been shaped in papers, written by several past presidents, on economic development, cultural diversity, and education.

"We must remember that we owe a large debt of gratitude to our past national leaders," Mr. Whiteman said. "They started us on very successful courses during their tenures and were always available for advice, counsel, and guidance."

Mr. Whiteman said he will rely on Ernest McD. Skinner, a Citicorp vice president in Washington, to develop a strategic plan, including a complete reevaluation of the association's mission statement.

Joined Affiliate in 1980

Mr. Whiteman joined the Urban Bankers Coalition of New York, an affiliate of the national association, in 1980 and was named minority banker of the year. He was a director in 1986 and 1987 and vice president from 1987 to 1989.

He was elected president of the New York group in 1989 and vice president and president-elect of the national association in June 1991.

He has a bachelor's degree in engineering from Columbia University and a master's in civil engineering from New York University. In 1985, he completed the advanced management program offered by Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration.

Before joining the New York Fed as a data processing vice president in 1977, Mr. Whiteman worked for International Business Machines Corp. in systems and marketing.

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