Financial services holding companies and subsidiaries of national banks would be able to offer real estate brokerage and management services under a bill introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass."The entrance of banks into real estate brokerage would help price competition," Rep. Oxley said. "Realtors already partner with lenders. Why not let banks partner with Realtors?" The Oxley-Frank bill (H. R. 2660) is designed to counter a bill pushed by the National Association of Realtors that would bar FSHCs and national banks from engaging in real estate sales or management. The NAR bill has 221 co-sponsors, which is a majority of the members of the House of Representatives. For the past several years, the NAR has successfully blocked the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board from ruling on whether RE brokerage is a permissible activity for FSHCs by attaching riders to annual appropriations bill. The Realtors are lobbying for a permanent ban now. Earlier this year, Reps. Oxley and Frank asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the RE market and price competition for brokerage services.

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