Seven senators have introduced a bill to permanently ban bank holding companies from entering the real estate brokerage and property management business.Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). are co-sponsors of the bill (S. 98). Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) have introduced a similar bill (H.R. 111) in the House. For the past three years, Congress has passed amendments to appropriations bills that prohibit the Treasury Department from spending any funds on promulgating regulations that would allow national banks to acquire RE brokerage firms. Last year the National Association of Realtors raised the stakes and pushed for a permanent ban, but failed. "We continue to see tremendous support from members of Congress for keeping big banking conglomerates out of real estate," NAR president Al Mansell said. "We will not relent until national banks are permanently prohibited from taking over local real estate businesses that are part of the fabric of our communities."

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