DEFINITION of 'American Bankers Association - ABA'

The American Bankers Association (ABA) is the largest banking trade association in the United States. Founded in 1875, the ABA represents banks of all sizes. The ABA offers a wide range of products and services to its members, in fields such as staff training, insurance, capital management, asset management, risk/compliance and consulting.

The nine-digit routing numbers seen on every check originate in a system of bank transit numbers developed by the ABA in 1910.

BREAKING DOWN 'American Bankers Association - ABA'

The ABA is very active in lobbying Congress on behalf of banking interests. The focus of its lobbying effort in recent years has been the elimination of the tax-exempt status of credit unions. Traditionally, the credit union served a small, highly targeted membership, such as the employees of a company. In recent years, however, credit unions have been able to greatly expand their fields of membership and potential customer pools. Many credit unions now have over $1 billion in assets and rival the size of large banks. The ABA argues that credit unions have become so much like banks that their tax-exempt status is no longer justified.

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