The Wisconsin Bankers Association has agreed to merge with the Community Bankers of Wisconsin.

The trade groups, both based in Madison, plan to operate under the WBA's brand after the merger is completed at the end of next month.

"A strong, united trade association is better able to assist its membership," Robert Cera, the WBA's chairman, said in a press release Monday.

Rose Oswald Poels, the WBA's president, will serve as president and CEO of the combined group. Daryll Lund, head of the CBW, will become vice president and chief of staff.

WBA represents 2,300 branches, according to its website, and is affiliated with the American Bankers Association. CBW — which represents 900 branches, according to its website — is an affiliate of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

The announcement marks the latest in a more than decade-long trend of trade group consolidation, driven by competition for members and a changing regulatory environment.

The Virginia Bankers Association and West Virginia Bankers Association in April announced plans to merge, but scrapped talks this fall, citing issues with sharing common resources.

The Community Bankers Association of New York State combined with the with the New York Bankers Association in 2005. Similar mergers have also occurred in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan.

The trend has also played out at the national level, with the American Bankers Association absorbing America's Community Bankers in 2007.

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