For the third straight year, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a permanent prohibition on the entry of federally chartered banking entities into the business of real estate brokerage. The committee approved the ban as a part of an appropriations bill for the departments of transportation, treasury, and housing and urban development.

The National Association of Realtors trade group for several years has aggressively lobbied to block federally chartered financial institutions from engaging in real estate activities, charging that these large companies would have an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Meanwhile, banking industry supporters have countered that new competition would be good for the real estate brokerage industry.

“Last year, House and Senate appropriations conferees agreed to the Senate permanent ban prohibition provision until the House Leadership insisted on its removal during the final hours of the conference,” stated Mary L. Trupo, public issues director for the Realtor group. The full Senate may consider the latest proposed ban in late September or later, according to Trupo.

On June 14, the U.S. House approved a one-year prohibition on the entry of banks into real estate brokerage activities as a part of its transportation-treasury-housing-and-urban-development-spending bill. The provision in that bill prohibits the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department from finalizing a rule that would allow banks to engage in real estate brokerage, Trupo stated.

“We will continue to make the case with … leadership of both (the House and Senate) that this is the time to resolve this issue,” according to Trupo.

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