The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's recent actions to pre-empt state real estate lending laws is another reason banks should not be allowed to engage in real estate brokerage activities, according to the National Association of Realtors."This trend could create federal regulation of real estate finance and perhaps also real estate brokerage if it is allowed to continue," NAR president Walt McDonald said. In light of the OCC rulings, the NAR will increase its efforts to pass legislation that would prohibit bank holding companies from getting into the real estate business. The NAR's legislative and regulatory agenda also calls for increasing the conforming loan limits so that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase more loans in high-cost areas. The NAR wants to "ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the secondary market remain viable and healthy," as Congress moves toward strengthening the regulation of the two government-sponsored enterprises. And the NAR is committed to blocking the Department of Housing and Urban Development from finalizing its Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule. "NAR supports efforts to improve RESPA," the trade group said. "However, NAR believes that there are serious flaws with the current proposal and that it would create more problems than it solves."

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