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WASHINGTON, DC-Fearing the possible undermining of the real estate market, National Association of Realtors president-elect Martin Edwards, Jr. is advocating that banking conglomerates back off of their government petition to allow banks to enter the real estate brokerage and property management markets. The Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and the US Department of the Treasury are currently considering the regulation.

At a National Association of Home Builders-sponsored news briefing earlier this week, Edwards expresses the association’s belief that allowing financial companies and national bank conglomerates to sell and manage real estate, “will cause consolidation, conflicts of interest between brokerages and lenders, and will lead to unfair competition.” He adds that if the government approves the proposal, consumers will have fewer options and the quality of real estate services, in general, will deteriorate.

The 1999 Gramm-Leach-Biley Act gives the Federal Reserve and the Treasury the power to allow or disallow such financial activity. Since voicing its disdain for the proposal back in December of last year, NAR has encouraged fellow industry members to write the two government offices and Congress to express opposition to the banking industry’s request. To date, more than 100,000 letters have gone out in protest.

And more recently, the NAR voices its concern for possible approval of the request in a letter focusing on confirmation hearings for Federal Reserve Board nominee Mark Olson to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes of Maryland. In the note, NAR President Richard Mendenhall says the organization’s “specific concern is that Mr. Olson’s experience [as a former American Bankers Association president] will significantly bias his views regarding implementation of new financial activities under provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.”

While NAR works to revitalize industry markets, Edwards explains that “now is not the time to disrupt or destabilize real estate.”

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