James Ballentine, ABA’s longtime EVP for congressional relations and legislative affairs, today announced that he will retire from ABA on April 15. Ballentine joined ABA in 2000 after serving as associate deputy administrator at the Small Business Administration and as a chief of staff and legislative director on Capitol Hill.
In addition to serving as ABA’s chief lobbyist—recognized by The Hill as a top lobbyist in D.C. in 2020 and 2021—Ballentine is one of ABA’s most popular speakers at banker events. “James has given hundreds of speeches to state bankers associations, banking groups and bank boards, traveled thousands of ABA miles, given countless media interviews and met thousands of bankers over the years,” ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols said. “He has served as a mentor and counselor not just to employees across the organization, but to lawmakers, Hill staffers, and bankers, always willing to listen and offer sage guidance no matter the issue. His ability to navigate political landmines deftly, see the big picture and give unvarnished advice have been his greatest assets to ABA and the banking industry.”
Nichols added that “James has a unique ability to connect with every person he meets, regardless of title, political party or background,” noting that this “skill has served him very well as ABA’s top lobbyist, and also as a colleague who has made a point to ensure his coworkers on every level feel welcome, included and understood.” ABA will recognize Ballentine’s substantial contributions to the industry between now and his retirement in April, including at ABA’s Washington Summit in March.