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Main Street banks launch new trade group

[NEW YORK] A group of regional and middle market US banks have created their own lobbying organization, as they seek to differentiate themselves from major Wall Street firms.

The formation of the so-called American Securities Association on Wednesday comes as big banks are facing increased scrutiny from regulators about their size and risk to the financial system.

Regional banks, which typically cater to the needs of mid-sized businesses and local families, serve a different purpose than their Wall Street counterparts. "Deep roots and knowledge of local markets allow ASA member firms to better serve their communities than larger Wall Street firms," Curt Bradbury, chief operating officer of Stephens Inc and the group's chair, said in a press release.

"Washington's one-size-fits-all approach to industry regulation disproportionately harms our ability to drive economic recovery and job creation." The group also includes executives from BB&T Securities, Stifel Financial Corp, Raymond James Financial Inc and Piper Jaffray Companies and will serve as an umbrella organization for another newly formed group that focuses on equity-specific matters called the Equity Dealers of America, as well as the existing Bond Dealers of America that represents fixed income firms.

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