The Bankers’ Association for Finance and Trade (Baft) has elected Howard Bascom to lead the organisation for the 2009-2010 year. The announcement was made at the association’s 87th annual meeting in Dana Point, California on April 29.

Bascom is managing director of The Bank of New York Mellon and head of global trade finance and credit services.

Baft members also elected Rita Gonzalez as vice-chair. Gonzalez is managing director and head of global transaction banking at HSBC. James Peterson, managing director for The Northern Trust International Banking Corporation, was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

Baft’s service members will be represented by John Campbell, senior partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers and Whit Knapp, president of Flmetrix.

Outgoing president Chuck Silverman remains on the board as chairman of the nominating committee. Silverman is managing director at Wachovia/Wells Fargo.

Commenting on the appointment, Bascom says: “Representing Baft under any circumstances would be an honour, but it’s particularly gratifying given the importance of trade finance services in the current economic climate.

“The trade finance crisis has underscored the importance of Baft’s ability as a leadership organisation to address the key business areas in which we’re involved on behalf of our global membership. I look forward to working with our members around the world. Together, we will look to reinvigorate international trade and ensure that Baft continues to drive best practices, improve efficiencies and enhance the way the industry conducts international business.”