History of BAI

Helping financial industry leaders make smart business decisions for more than 90 years

BAI’s roots lie in America’s Great Depression of the 1920s. When representatives of multiple regional auditors’ groups first met to discuss industry issues, a core fixture of today’s non-profit organization was born. That group of industry leaders found in-person connections to be important and relevant for their work. And they immediately realized that a national organization would only improve the exchange of information.

Soon after that first meeting in 1924, the organization — originally called the National Association of Bank Auditors and Controllers (NABAC) — began to hold annual conventions and distribute a magazine focused on financial industry topics.

The organization became both a voice and a resource for the industry. Members gained access to each other, and to valuable industry information. As a result, financial institutions were able to make smart business decisions and meet changing customer demands even better.

Auditors attending those early conventions quickly saw the value. They learned from each other’s experiences. They shared their challenges and worked together to find solutions. And those connections became a driving force behind the organization’s continued growth and relevance over time.

By the 1940s, the NABAC had its own office — first in Cleveland and later in Chicago. And the organization began to provide both education and technical research for its members, setting a precedent for today’s BAI services.

Becoming BAI

In 1957, the ever-evolving organization set up the NABAC Research Institute as the first official, collective research effort for the banking industry. This industry research became an indispensable resource, connecting industry leaders to the data they needed to make smart decisions.

By the time Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind in 1969, the NABAC was taking its own small steps forward. Rebranded as Bank Administration Institute (BAI), the organization was serving nearly 8,000 member institutions across the U.S.

Continued innovation for the past, present, and future

As decades passed and the industry underwent vast changes, BAI evolved with the times.

In 1981, BAI launched the first electronic information services, Innerline, providing 24-hour access to world news briefs, American Banker news service, financial information on 8,500 publicly held corporations, and email and online registration for BAI conferences. Later, BAI conferences evolved to focus on implementing and using changing technologies, including the first ATMs. An expanded research department began to provide business intelligence and comparative analytics tools. And with the purchase of Bankers Training and Consulting Company, online compliance training through BAI became a reality.

Over the years, BAI has continually provided unbiased, relevant, timely information and education. And today, we remain focused on the goal of giving financial services leaders the confidence to make smart business decisions every day. Because we believe a strong financial services industry helps consumers, businesses, and communities thrive.

BAI by the numbers

The 1928 convention was attended by 19 people. In 2015, the BAI Retail Delivery event had 3000 financial services leaders in attendance.

The first NABAC office had a single staff member. Today, BAI employs more than 100 employees.

BAI Banking Strategies Daily was launched in 2010. Today it’s sent to 34,000 industry leaders every day.

In 2014, BAI provided compliance training for more than 250,000 individuals across 1800 organizations.