Operating as part of the American Bankers Association (ABA), the American Institute of Banking (AIB) provided training for positions in banking through 2014.
Although the AIB has stopped operating as a separate institution, you can still find AIB training courses on the ABA website as well as through local ABA chapters. Completing such training can help you prepare for a new career or advance in your current role at a financial institution.
Learn more about the AIB’s purpose, the various training options available, reasons for seeking this training, and some alternative banking training organizations you can consider.
Definition and Examples of the American Institute of Banking
The American Institute of Banking (AIB) was an institution under the American Bankers Association (ABA) that provided training for banking roles.
- Acronym: AIB
Before its educational offerings were rolled up by the ABA in 2014, the AIB offered a large selection of individual training courses, certificate programs, and diploma programs. The AIB’s training covered diverse topics such as consumer banking, business banking, branch management, financial regulations, lending, fraud prevention, customer service, small business banking, and team leadership.
The AIB training could help you learn more about your banking role, study a topic of interest, or even prepare for a new career. For example, if you worked as a bank teller, you might have taken individual AIB courses to learn more about some banking regulations.
On the other hand, if you wanted to advance to a branch manager role, you might have signed up for the AIB’s Branch Manager Certificate program to gain new skills. Once experienced, you might have signed up for the AIB Bank Operations Diploma program to prepare to sit for the related ICB certification exam and prepare for further advancement.
In response to the 1873 economic panic, bankers from across the U.S. founded the ABA in 1875 to provide for learning, networking and advocacy opportunities. The ABA created the American Institute of Bank Clerks in 1900 to offer both in-person and correspondence courses to help banking professionals further their skills. It would later rename this to the American Institute of Banking.
Along with the AIB, the ABA had the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB) that allowed you to take AIB courses to qualify for various certification exams. Like the AIB, the ICB no longer exists as a separate entity. Instead, the ABA offers certification programs directly after the merger.
How Did the American Institute of Banking Work?
Participating in an AIB course or program usually involved signing up through your state’s ABA chapter. While the ABA allows various types of banks to become members and access resources, you could often enroll in training even if your employer wasn’t a member.
However, if you were not a member you often had to pay a higher fee for training than for people working for ABA member institutions. Bundling courses through a certificate or diploma program usually lowered the cost for both members and non-members.
While later offerings primarily included self-paced or instructor-led online courses, the AIB had also offered correspondence and in-person training for some courses. Course length and requirements varied based on the course and format.
Self-paced online courses might have taken eight hours or less, while instructor-led courses could have lasted up to four months. This meant certificate and diploma programs could take several months or longer depending on the course length, your time commitment, and the number of courses.
While instructor-led online AIB courses did have a weekly schedule, they offered flexibility in when you could complete the work. This contrasted with in-person AIB courses where you had to be in class at scheduled times.
What AIB Courses Entailed
Regardless of the format, AIB courses often involved reading finance books or web materials, creating assignments, participating in discussions, and taking exams. After you passed a course, you could continue the series for a certificate or diploma, or you could use the course credits toward continuing education that your employer or an existing credential might have required.
If you’d taken courses to pursue an ICB certification, you would also have to make sure you met the experience requirements before signing up to take the certification exam.
To see how AIB training worked, let’s say that you just started your banking career as a teller and felt interested in moving up to a personal banker role. You might have decided to complete the AIB’s Personal Banker Certificate to learn more about financial services, products, and customer relationship management.
After signing up for the certificate program, you would have started a series of self-paced online courses covering areas like communication, banking products, sales, referrals, and negotiation. You would have earned the certificate after completing and passing all the AIB courses.
Types of ABA Training
While the AIB doesn’t offer courses and programs directly anymore, you can now complete training through the ABA as a member or non-member. The ABA offers most of its training online through individual courses, webinars, and certificate programs.
While you won’t find the long diploma programs that the AIB once offered, the ABA still has certificate programs that prepare you for certification exams. You can purchase much of the training through the ABA website once you create an account there, but you’ll also still find some offerings through local ABA chapters.
You should ask your employer if they have an ABA membership. If they do, you can sign up for an ABA account using your work email and access benefits like training discounts.
The ABA’s current online course offerings include over 400 self-paced courses and 20 instructor-led courses. The courses have labels indicating certification programs and certifications they will apply toward.
You have to choose a scheduled start date for the instructor-led courses, while you can sign up to start any time for the self-paced options. You’ll find many courses available even if you don’t have an ABA membership.
Some of the many self-paced course topics include:
- Corporate strategy
- Commercial real estate
- Consumer banking
- Security and regulations
- Deposit accounts
- Risk management
- Student loans
- Home finance
- Wealth management
The instructor-led courses cover topics such as:
- Financial statement analysis
- Banking basics
- Customer relationship management
- Basic accounting
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
- Bank product lines
The ABA has over 200 webinars where you can watch experts discuss important banking topics. These webinars cover many of the same topics as the courses, but they often focus on current developments and news. Some qualify for continuing education credits.
Many of these webinars are recorded to watch at your convenience, but you’ll often need an ABA membership to access them. The webinar’s specific page will list requirements for viewing, including whether you can watch through an external link without an ABA membership.
You’ll find nearly 40 certification programs on the ABA’s website, and they often consist of several individual courses or suites of related courses. The certificates mainly focus on a particular banking job or certification exam.
While some certificates may only require a few foundational courses, other career-focused programs can require nearly 40 courses. You usually have access to the certificate courses for a limited time such as a year.
Some ABA certificate programs include the following:
- Business and Commercial Lending Certificate
- Bank Teller Certificate
- Private Banker Certificate
- Bank Marketing Certificate
- Wharton Emerging Leaders Certificate
- Bank Solutions Provider Certificate
- Fiduciary Relationship Management Certificate
- Deposit Compliance Certificate
- Bank Financial Management Certificate
- Asset Management Certificate
Completing ABA webinars, courses, conferences, and certificate programs can help you meet the education requirements for ABA certifications. Involving a proctored exam, these credentials demonstrate your knowledge to banks and credit unions where you might work. They usually require prior work experience along with the ABA credits.
Maintaining your ABA certification involves earning a minimum number of credits on a three-year basis. You also have to agree to an ethics code and pay an annual fee to renew your credentials.
You can earn the following six certifications through the ABA:
- Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor
- Certified AML and Fraud Professional
- Certified IRA Services Professional
- Certified Enterprise Risk Professional
- Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager
- Certified Financial Marketing Professional
Alternatives to the American Institute of Banking (AIB)
While the ABA’s training remains popular for developing your banking career, many other organizations have courses and programs in banking and finance to consider. A few of these include the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Independent Community of Bankers of America and the Bank Administration Institute.
Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS)
Originally named the Association of Supervisors of State Banks, the CSBS has existed since 1902 and focuses on advocating for banking system regulation. It currently has several online and in-person training options designed for bank examiners and other employees who benefit from understanding banking laws.
The intensive programs for examiners are called technical schools and cover topics such as credit evaluation, capital markets examination, and bank analysis. These often require some experience. The CSBS also offers a large library of short online courses covering everything from bank operations and regulation to banking products and portfolio management.
If you meet the experience and education requirements, you can also consider the organization’s Examiner Certification Program.
Independent Community of Bankers of America (ICBA)
The ICBA represents around 50,000 community banks and does work through its advocacy, training, and banking solutions. It offers several courses and online certificate programs to both financial institutions and individuals as well as all-access plans to institutions. You can sign up as a non-member and pay a higher fee for training.
Some sample individual courses cover the Bank Secrecy Act, auditing, appraisal, payments, negotiation, information security, bank teller basics, identity fraud, and Regulations P and Z. The certificate programs focus on roles such as human resource generalists, tellers, universal bankers, and auditors. Other educational options through the ICBA include webinars, certifications, and a bank director program.
Bank Administration Institute (BAI)
The BAI offers short banking courses to financial institutions that want to train their employees in a specific role. Many of the courses focus on regulations and laws involving deposits and transactions, lending money, and managing banking personnel. However, you’ll also find courses covering basic skills such as managing accounts, selling financial services, and performing day-to-day duties as a commercial banker, bank teller, wealth manager, or executive.
- Since the AIB ceased operations as a separate ABA subsidiary in 2014, the ABA has offered banking training directly through its website and local chapters.
- The AIB’s banking training helped with skill-building and career advancement and covered topics ranging from basic bank operations and lending to regulation and management.
- While the AIB used to offer courses, certificate programs, and diploma programs, the ABA doesn’t currently offer diplomas.
- AIB courses were available through correspondence, online, or in-person formats, but most ABA courses today are entirely online in a self-paced or instructor-led format.
- Some alternative organizations offering banking training include the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Bank Administration Institute, and Independent Community of Bankers of America.