A Brief History of RMA—From Robert Morris Associates to The Risk Management Association

When RMA was founded in 1914 to facilitate the exchange of credit information, it was named the Robert Morris Club, after Philadelphian Robert Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence and was the primary financier of the Revolutionary War.

In 1781, the Revolutionary government was virtually bankrupt, and the Continental Congress appointed Robert Morris as superintendent of finance. The following year, Morris organized the first national bank—the Bank of North America—in Philadelphia. Initially, the bank financed the war against Britain; and Morris’ new system of government contracting decreased inefficiency and waste, and contributed to the troops being fed and clothed.

Although Morris fell into bankruptcy later in his career and, relatively, died in poverty, his contributions as the “father of the credit system” have had a long-reaching impact on the American financial system.

In 1915, sixty-five banks attending a Salt Lake City meeting became members of the Robert Morris Club, which later became Robert Morris Associates. Led by Cofounder and Secretary-Treasurer Alexander Wall, a Code of Ethics (now Principles for the Exchange of Credit Information) was adopted and the first Annual Conference was held in 1916.

Robert Morris Associates changed its name to The Risk Management Association in 2000 and began the new millennium continuing its commitment to advance sound risk principles in all areas of risk in the financial services industry. Through the economic cycles of the past 100 years—including the Great Depression—RMA members have learned from mistakes, adopted best practices from leading institutions, and are uniquely positioned to manage today’s economic challenges.