MBA and VBA: FAQ on Strategic Combination

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What is happening with the Maryland Bankers Association and Virginia Bankers Association, and why is now the optimal time for this action?

The Maryland Bankers Association (MBA) and Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) are merging into a two-state enterprise through a holding company to enhance industry advocacy and member services in both states, a move endorsed by their boards and pending member approval. This strategic consolidation is timely due to the banking industry’s current pivotal phase, where collaboration and restructuring are essential for bolstering advocacy efforts and operational efficiencies amidst evolving market and regulatory conditions.

What is the benefit to the banking industry?

Leveraging a shared-services model and centralizing administrative processes allows MBA and VBA to elevate their advocacy efforts, focus on enhancing products and training, and realize efficiencies that can be reinvested into strategic initiatives such as educational advocacy campaigns. For banks in both states, the new model allows for improved service delivery and the potential for cost savings passed along to members in future years.

What is the MBA/VBA strategic combination both boards recommend to MBA and VBA members?

The MBA and VBA propose to create a new holding company, the Mid-Atlantic Bankers Association (the Holding Company), which will enable the MBA and VBA to combine forces and share resources to more efficiently and effectively serve our member banks and associate members. As stated above, this action is responsive to ongoing banking industry consolidation and the need for both scale and efficiency at MBA and VBA.

What is changing?

Both MBA and VBA will be subsidiaries of the Holding Company, which will create a new two-state enterprise. The Holding Company Board will comprise three MBA and six VBA Board members—reflecting the size difference between the two organizations—and will oversee the enterprise.

What is not changing?

Advocacy Continuity: Both MBA and VBA will maintain their roles as the unified voices for banking in Maryland and Virginia, respectively. The Holding Company will create an elevated focus for industry advocacy and member services platforms across Maryland and Virginia, as well as in DC; given the proposed strategic combination between the VBA and MBA, the D.C. Bankers Association (DCBA) would also become a part of the Holding Company in its current form and structure as a division of the VBA. Our commitment to advocating for our industry in Annapolis, Richmond, and Washington D.C. remains unwavering.

Board of Directors Engagement: The MBA and VBA Boards will provide input and oversight as MBA and VBA advocates for the industry. The boards of each organization will continue to influence and steer advocacy efforts, recommend products and services to address industry needs and serve as ambassadors of the banking industries in their respective states and across the region.

Historical Legacy: Our rich histories, dating back to the late 19th century, continue to be the foundation for our future endeavors. The essence and mission of both associations remain intact.

What about other association programs, activities and services?

MBA and VBA will establish a shared-services model and work together to continue and enhance program offerings in both states. This will include ongoing Education & Training events and conferences and a variety of products and services for member banks and associate members in both states. Backroom efficiencies will also be part of the strategy to build a more effective organization.

Who will lead the Holding Company?

The Holding Company Board will be chaired by either the Immediate Past MBA or VBA Chair, with a rotation schedule reflective of board representation. Bruce Whitehurst will serve as the Holding Company and VBA President & CEO; Ramon Looby will serve as the Holding Company Executive Vice President and MBA President & CEO.

We are already members of MBA and VBA. Will we still pay dues to both associations?

Yes, membership dues remain crucial for our state and federal advocacy efforts. The strategic combination is designed to leverage our strengths, potentially mitigating the need for future dues increases. Further, by collaborating on Education & Training and member services, we aim to enhance the value we deliver to our members while optimizing our resources. Associate members’ support in both states will also make a meaningful contribution and difference to our operations.

What is the timeline to complete this strategic combination?

Both the MBA and VBA Boards approved a definitive agreement in April, subject to member bank approval in both states. Member communications are underway, with member bank proxy voting to begin soon. Affirmative votes in both states will finalize a plan to create the Holding Company effective July 1, 2024.

I have more questions; who can I contact?

MBA: Ramon Looby, 443-699-6785

VBA: Bruce Whitehurst, 804-819-4701