Industry News

Democrats question banking regulator’s real estate rulings

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Democrats speaking on a U.S. House of Representatives panel Wednesday told a federal bank regulator that recent decisions to allow banks to enter commercial real estate projects could potentially open a backdoor for banks to mix banking and commerce, and threaten federal deposit insurance funds, according to reports. In a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Representatives Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., asked the banking regulator to respond to specific questions about recent decisions. The congressmen said they were concerned that the move was "a significant departure from statutory requirements and previous OCC interpretations; newly permit national banks to engage in a host of risky activities; potentially grant national banks a backdoor to mix banking and commerce; and threaten the deposit insurance funds," according to a Reuters report. The December OCC rulings allowed three of the largest national banks in the nation to invest in the devel...