NAR Weighs In

April 24, 2002

Realtors' Organization Says Banking Lobby Must 'Face Reality'

Inman News Features

The National Association of Realtors today asked the banking lobby to withdraw its request to enter real estate brokerage and property management following today's announcement by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that the government has postponed a decision on the issue until 2003.

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), Secretary O'Neill wrote, "The volume of letters demonstrates the sensitivity of this particular determination as well as the difficulty of the task that Congress gave us in promoting competition in financial services."

NAR opposes allowing banks to enter real estate brokerage and property management under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and says it will lead to higher costs to consumers, large scale consolidation in the real estate industry, and potential conflicts of interest should banks be able to steer home buyers to their own insurance and loan products.

NAR President Martin Edwards Jr. said today that more than half the members of the House of Representatives have now co-sponsored the Community Choice in Real Estate Act, H.R. 3424, which would prevent the proposed regulation under consideration by the Federal Reserve Board and Treasury Department.

"The intent of Congress is crystal clear. More than 220 members of the House and 10 Senators now have sponsored the Community Choice in Real Estate Act because the regulation would be detrimental to the national economy and to consumers. Congress knows that if big banks are allowed to take over locally owned and operated real estate businesses, the market will soon be dominated by a handful of large banking conglomerates whose primary goal is to control every aspect of buying a home or a commercial property," said Edwards.

"This is no coincidence since tens of thousands of consumers and real estate professionals have communicated their views to Treasury and the Congress. It's also no coincidence that the Senate Financial Institutions Subcommittee has recently announced hearings. Nor is it a coincidence that this request by the banks, first proposed in January 2001, has yet to be approved due to the tremendous public opposition it has created. It's time for the banking lobby to face reality and comply with congressional intent and the public interest," said Edwards.

NAR will continue its campaign to stop the regulation if the banking lobby does not withdraw its request, said Edwards.

NAR is a trade association representing approximately 800,000 members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Copyright: Inman News Service

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].