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ABA: The American Bankers Association
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  • 1950: Wider Acceptance
    Diners Club launches the national charge card industry. Previous credit cards had been limited in use to one retail establishment or chain.
  • 1951: Taxing Times
    Congress repeals tax exemptions for cooperative and mutual savings banks and thrifts, noting that they are in “active competition” with taxpaying banks. Credit unions remain exempt from taxes.
  • 1952: Payment Innovation
    Franklin National Bank, Franklin Square, N.Y., becomes the first bank to issue a credit card.
  • 1954: International Monetary Conference
    ABA becomes the secretariat for the new International Monetary Conference, which today is composed of 65 global financial institutions representing 31 countries. The IMC is held annually for members to discuss pressing international economic and monetary issues.
  • 1956: Holding the Line
    Congress passes the Bank Holding Company Act in response to the rapid expansion of holding companies and the growing number of bank mergers. The legislation requires all holding companies owning or controlling two or more banks to register with the Federal Reserve Board, file annual reports and submit to bank examinations by the Fed. It will later be amended to include one-bank BHCs.
  • 1956: Auto Checking
    ABA approves the adoption of magnetic ink character recognition as a common machine language for check handling, revolutionizing check processing by allowing it to be done electronically. Bank of America becomes the first bank to automate its check processing using MICR in 1960.
  • 1959: Nationwide Acceptance
    Bank of America issues the first bank credit card to gain national acceptance, BankAmericard, now Visa.
  • 1961: ATM and CD Developments
    First National City Bank, now Citibank, offers the first negotiable certificate of deposit to selected corporate customers. City Bank also installs the first bankograph, a proto-ATM that accepts cash and check deposits. It is removed after six months due to customer dissatisfaction.
  • 1963: Banking, Enterprise and Growth
    President John F. Kennedy addresses the ABA Symposium on Economic Growth, which is attended by top leaders in finance, business, agriculture, labor and the academic community. The symposium’s theme deals with the roles of the government and private enterprises in enhancing the nation's economic growth.
  • 1964: Making Banking Easier
    ABA’s National Automation Conference is the largest single conference held by ABA to date, featuring an exhibit area filled with banking automation displays including new computer equipment.
  • 1964: Standard Numbering
    ABA is approached by various industry groups to develop a numbering system for uniquely identifying securities in order to speed up the clearing and settlement of securities transactions. ABA forms the Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures, or CUSIP. Owned by ABA, the CUSIP numbering system launches in 1967; today there are more than 7.2 million active CUSIPs.
  • 1966: Debit Development
    The first test program for using a debit card at a point of sale is initiated at the Bank of Delaware in Wilmington. The first truly paperless debit-POS system was put in place by Hempstead Bank, Syosset, N.Y., in 1971 in 32 retail establishments.
  • 1968: Lending True and Fair
    In another major year for bank-related legislation, Congress passes the Bank Protection Act (authorizing the federal financial regulators to make rules governing minimum security measures at banks and thrifts), the Truth in Lending Act (requiring lenders to clearly spell out all customer rights and responsibilities under a loan agreement) and the Fair Housing Act (the first federal mandate against housing-related discrimination). These laws begin to shift the focus of bank supervisors from safety and soundness to consumer protection.
  • 1969: The First True ATM
    Chemical Bank installs the first U.S. automated teller machine at its Long Island branch. “On Sept. 2, our bank will open at 9:00 and never close again,” read Chemical Bank advertisements.
  • 1970: Shhh!
    Congress passes the Bank Secrecy Act to help deter white-collar crime, such as income tax evasion, by furnishing law enforcement agencies with greater evidence of financial transactions, and to secure additional information about the use of secret foreign bank accounts by U.S. citize
  • 1970: Fannie’s Little Brother
    Also known as Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is established to strengthen the secondary mortgage market for residential loans.
  • 1971: Capital for Opportunity
    Through a joint project of ABA and the National Bankers Association, Minbanc Capital Corporation is formed as a banker-supported investment company to generate capital for minority-owned banks.
  • 1971: Moving to Washington
    ABA consolidates its New York and Washington offices into one location in Washington, its present-day location at 1120 Connecticut Avenue NW.
  • 1971: Credit Reporting
    The Fair Credit Reporting Act—designed to regulate the consumer reporting industry, but it also placing specific responsibilities on users of credit information provided by others—takes effect.
  • 1971: We’re Off the Gold Standard
    President Richard Nixon removes U.S. currency from the gold standard completely.
  • 1971: Farm Credit Boom and Bust
    The Farm Credit Act sets the fast-growing Farm Credit System on an unsustainable path by allowing its institutions to lend against the value of land, not its income-producing potential as below. Farm Credit inflates a massive farm bubble, lends aggressively outside the agriculture sector and, when the bubble bursts, will require a massive taxpayer bailout in 1987.
  • 1972: Paper or Plastic?
    The Automated Clearing House, or ACH, payment mechanism is established as an electronic alternative to the traditional paper-based check collection system. Ten California banks belonging to the San Francisco and Los Angeles Clearing House Associations exchanged the first ACH transactions.
  • 1973: In-Store Banking
    Banks and thrifts begin opening branch offices in supermarkets.
  • 1973: Taking an Interest
    Congress permits banks to offer “negotiated order of withdrawal” accounts in states where so authorized. So-called “NOW” accounts function like demand deposit checking accounts but are structured differently to allow banks to pay interest.
  • 1973: Secure Messaging
    A group of 250 European and North American banks form the mutually owned Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) in Brussels to maintain a cost-effective, high quality, responsive and secure international payment financial messaging system.
  • 1974: Improving Clearing
    ABA helps to found the National Automated Clearing House Association to help clearing houses coordinate their operations. ABA serves as a non-voting adviser to the NACHA board and provides administrative support.
  • 1974: Laws on Discrimination and Disclosure
    Congress passes the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to avert possible discrimination in providing bank services to individuals and families, because of age, sex, national origin, religious affiliation, or because they are recipients of public welfare. It passes the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to provide borrowers with information regarding the expenses involved in the real estate settlement process.
  • 1974: Press 1 to Pay
    The savings and loan industry offers the first telephone bill payment services.
  • 1974: The Rise of International Coordination
    Meeting for the first time, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision convenes the leaders of developed countries’ central banks at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel to coordinate responses after the messy failure of a German bank.

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