U.S. Realtors Fight to Fend Off Bank Move

February 15, 2001

U.S. realtors have launched an all-out push to derail a proposal that would allow big banks to sell and manage real estate, saying it could hurt consumers and the economy and devastate their industry, Reuters News Service reported today.

The proposal, issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury in December, would deem real estate brokerage and property management activities to be “financial in nature” the report said, opening them up to large national banks and other financial conglomerates. Realtors say big banks will be more interested in pushing mortgages than in helping home buyers get a good deal, will accumulate too much sensitive financial data on customers and will quickly come to dominate the entire industry.

“Should this regulation take effect, consumers will be the real losers,” National Association of Realtors President Richard Mendenhall told a news conference. “Real estate brokers’ loyalty is to buyers and sellers. On the other hand, banks’ expertise and vested interest lies in making loans.”

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