Partnerships / Acquisitions

Merger Will Help Trade Group Regain Strength On Capitol Hill

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The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) and the Clearing House Association announced they are creating a partnership that represents the largest financial services trade group merger in more than a decade.

According to news from American Banker, Greg Baer, president of the Clearing House Association, will be CEO of the group. A name for the new organization has yet to be announced.

“These two organizations will be stronger together,” said Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan, who is also chairman of the Roundtable.

It’s hoped the merger will help big banks gain more influence on Capitol Hill. Controversies such as the fake account scandal at Wells Fargo — coupled with the fallout from the financial crisis — have weakened large financial institutions’ influence with lawmakers.

It makes sense, then, sources said, that the merger was pushed by the CEOs of some of the country’s biggest banks.

As far as how this combined group will handle lawmakers, it’s believed it will utilize detailed research instead of relying on talking points or campaign donations.

“Let’s take the good research and let’s amplify it with more action on the Hill,” Baer said. “Let’s move this business model to the Hill as well as the banking agencies. If you take the research and data, the Hill will appreciate it. We’re taking the Clearing House model and expanding it by combining with FSR.”

The merger will also separate The Clearing House Association, the advocacy group, from The Clearing House, the nation’s largest payments provider. In addition, the Clearing House Association will benefit from the Roundtable’s services, including its BITS technology division and a political action committee.

This new group could also enable The Clearing House to push forward its own agendas. Back in January, Baer testified about the group’s work to change anti-money laundering regulations. And earlier this week, he wrote an American Banker op-ed calling for greater government involvement in preventing cyberattacks.

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