John Banks, the five-year president of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) announced today that he’s retiring to spend more time with his family and pursue philanthropic interests. Jim Whelan, the current executive vice president of REBNY, has been confirmed to succeed Banks.
“Throughout my career, I have been extremely fortunate to work with people and organizations that have helped me grow both personally and professionally; and because of this tremendous support I now have the ability to make this very personal choice,” Banks said in a statement.
“I intend to fully focus on my beloved wife Lisa and our young children, and look forward to being more present in their lives,” Banks added. “In addition to enjoying my family, I plan to concentrate on my not-for-profit and charitable interests.”
The 123-year-old trade association represents residential and commercial real estate interests in New York City and also operates as a de-facto non-public-facing multiple listing service, feeding listings to brokerages. Most recently, it’s taken up the fight to oppose state legislation that would limit the amount rental brokers can collect in fees.
REBNY also has a large presence in the New York City political scene, with a robust membership and a hefty war chest for donating to political candidates through the REBNY PAC and the Jobs for New York PAC, according to a report from City Limits.
Prior to joining REBNY, Banks served as vice president of government relations at Con Ed for more than a decade. He also held positions with the New York City Council and New York City Mayor’s Office.
Whelan too has a background in government relations, but brings more real estate specific experience to the role. He has served as the executive vice president of REBNY for the past nine years, overseeing the association’s efforts towards advocacy, policy, government relations, communications and brokerage services.
Prior to joining REBNY, Whelan served as senior vice president of public affairs at Muss Development Company and chief of staff for the deputy mayor of economic development in New York City.
“I am both honored and humbled, and I look forward to serving as REBNY President to help our city stay ahead of the competition well into the future,” Whelan said in a statement. “We have many challenges ahead of us, but we are uniquely positioned to continue being the best place in the world to work and live.”
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