ABA names new head of congressional relations and legislative affairs

The American Bankers Association has selected Kirsten Sutton to serve as EVP of congressional relations and legislative affairs. She succeeds James Ballentine, who is retiring after 22 years with the association.

Since joining ABA in 2020, Sutton has been executive director of ABA’s Card Policy Council, leading advocacy efforts on card and payments issues. In her new role, Sutton will oversee the association’s bipartisan team responsible for engaging lawmakers and their staff on policy and legislative issues affecting banks and the communities they serve. She starts on May 9.

“Kirsten has an incredible passion for advocacy and a deep appreciation for the essential role banks of all sizes play in supporting local communities and the broader economy,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “Her significant experience on the Hill, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and within ABA make her ideally suited for this critically important position.”

Sutton was chief of staff for former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger. She also served as chief of staff for Acting Director Mick Mulvaney in 2018. Prior to the CFPB, Sutton spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill, most recently as majority staff director of the House Financial Services Committee.