New ABA Chair Addresses Key Advocacy Topics

In his first public address as the American Bankers Association’s new chair, Scott Anderson outlined two big-ticket priorities as he takes the board’s helm: ensuring racial and financial equality and credit union reform.

“We need to ensure that everyone has a truly equal opportunity to prosper. This will only happen if we have an economy that is inclusive. And banks are critical in making this happen,” said Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank in Salt Lake City. An important way to be proactive in furthering economic inclusion is the Bank On movement, he said, adding that his bank recently received Bank On certification.

“Bank On-certified products help meet the financial services needs for families living paycheck to paycheck, helping to narrow the gap in racial disparity among those holding bank accounts,” Anderson said during the final day of ABA’s Annual Convention in Tampa, Fla. He cited a recent national FDIC survey that found 48% of Black households and 42% of Hispanic households are unbanked or underbanked, compared to less than 14% of white households. Bank On certification “should be part of our industry’s ongoing commitment to furthering economic inclusion, Anderson said.

Another banking sector priority must be to “level the playing field” with credit unions, he said. “It simply isn’t fair for a large and direct competitor, essentially offering the same services as banks, to enjoy a large tax subsidy,” Anderson said. “We must redouble our efforts to create a fair and competitive tax and regulatory environment so credit unions don’t enjoy undeserved advantages in the marketplace.”