Steven J. Lepper became AMBA’s President and Chief Executive Officer in July 2015 after serving for one year as the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative and for thirty-five years as an Air Force judge advocate.
Steven J. Lepper was appointed AMBA’s President and Chief Executive Officer in 2015. Steve leads the Nation’s only trade association representing banking institutions specializing in providing banking services for military personnel and their families. The Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) was founded in 1959 and has a long history of partnering with the Department of Defense for the benefit of military members and their dependents. AMBA’s membership includes large and small national and state chartered banks, most operating on military installations and all insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Steve has a close working relationship with the nation’s major banking trade associations, including the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the federal banking regulators. Steve also works closely with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which administers the overseas worldwide military banking program through a contract with Bank of America, an AMBA member bank.
Steve joined AMBA after serving for one year as the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative and for thirty-five years as an Air Force judge advocate. A retired major general, Steve has spent most of his career as a legal advisor and counselor to senior U.S. government and military leaders and serving as a leader himself.
As the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), Steve led an international development program that promotes the rule of law by working with in-country partners to build sustainable institutions and societies that deliver justice, foster economic opportunity, and ensure respect for human dignity. ABA ROLI implements legal reform programs in roughly 60 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa with a professional staff of roughly 700 and an annual budget of over $40 million.
Steve’s thirty-five years of Air Force service began in 1979 with his graduation from the United States Air Force Academy and commissioning as a second lieutenant. After serving as a scientific analyst for two years, he was competitively selected to attend the Air Force’s Funded Legal Education Program, which led to a law degree and his designation as an Air Force judge advocate. He spent most of his career as an international lawyer and staff judge advocate (senior legal advisor) to commanders at all echelons. At various points, he also served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the senior “crisis communicator” for the Department of the Air Force, and as a military judge. His Air Force career culminated in his four-year service as the Air Force’s Deputy Judge Advocate General, a position to which he was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and from which he retired in 2014.
Steve is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in mathematics and operations research. He also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University, a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University, and a Master of Laws (International and Comparative Law) degree from Georgetown University. He is also a distinguished graduate of the National War College, National Defense University, where he received a Master of National Security Strategy degree.
Steve is an active member of the North Carolina Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. His military awards and decorations include two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and three Legions of Merit.
Among his extracurricular activities, Steve is a member of the American Legion and the American Bar Association. He and Kathy, his wife of thirty-six years, have two daughters. Jennifer Lepper Hardos is an active duty Air Force officer and lives with her husband, Ian, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where she is an instructor at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Helen Lepper Roybal is a microbiologist who lives with her husband, Matt, in Denver, Colorado.