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WASHINGTON, DC-The Federal Reserve Board’s proposal to amend the Bank Holding Companies and Change in Bank Control, Regulation Y, is yielding opposing views from real estate and financial services industry. Under the proposal, financial holding companies can act as their own real estate sales agents. If passed, national banks, through their subsidiaries, could find buyers and sellers, negotiate and consummate the deals.

The American Bankers Association approves of the regulation while the National Association of Realtors is opposed, according to information posted on its website. Representatives of the ABA could not be reached for comment.

Richard A. Mendenhall, president of the National Association of Realtors, says consumers would be the losers if this regulation is enacted. “Real estate brokers’ loyalty is to buyers and sellers,” he says. “Their success depends upon the quality of service they provide their customers. On the other hand, banks’ expertise and vested interest lies in making loans, not providing real estate services.”

Mendenhall also charges that three times in the past three years, Congress has said banks should not enter into commercial services. The banking lobby now is trying to get by regulation what they have failed to achieve through legislation.

“Congress debated mixing banking and commerce during deliberations on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act last year,” he says. “Both chambers voted decisively to limit banking institutions’ involvement in commercial activities.”

The public comments deadline to the FRB on this proposed regulation is March 2, 2001.

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