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Realtors Open Midyear Sessions, Press Congress on Banking Legislation.

Business Editors/Real Estate Writers

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 2003

More than 7,000 Realtors(r) from all over the United States are going to Capitol Hill this week to press their members of Congress on passage of important real estate legislation, including a bill to keep big banks out of the brokerage and property management business.

The Realtors(r) are in town to attend the National Association of Realtors'(r) 2003 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo that kicked off yesterday.

Key congressional lawmakers, top industry experts and education leaders will be on hand to address Realtors(r) during the five-day Midyear meetings. More than 150 companies are demonstrating their goods and services at more that 300 booths in the Trade Expo.

The big issues facing NAR during the meetings are how data on home sale information can be displayed on virtual office Web sites and what can be done to make homeowners insurance more available and less costly. The NAR Board of Directors is expected to take action on these issues when it meets Saturday, which concludes the Midyear sessions.

At the kickoff session, NAR President Cathy Whatley, owner of Buck and Buck Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., presented U.S. Rep. Anne Northup (R-Ky.), with the first President's Circle Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership, commitment and dedication in championing real estate causes in Congress. It was Northup's amendment to the 2003 appropriations bill that prevented the Treasury Department from spending money to implement a proposed rule that would allow big banking conglomerates into the real estate business. That provision expires October 1 at the end of the fiscal year.

Northup is also a cosponsor this year, as she was last year, of the "Community Choice in Real Estate Act" H.R. 111 that would prohibit the two federal agencies once and for all from allowing banks into real estate.

"The battle is not over," Northup told a gathering of several thousand Realtors(r), and charged them to press members of Congress into cosponsoring the House legislation and its companion bill in the Senate, S. 98. The Senate bill is being sponsored by Sens. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala).

Whatley challenged state and local Realtor(r) associations to participate in NAR's Housing Opportunity Program. More than 300 associations have already launched programs aimed at providing affordable housing for minorities and underserved families, such as teachers, policemen and firemen.

David Lereah, NAR chief economist, predicted that 2003 would be another outstanding year for residential real estate. Lereah said that housing market fundamentals remain strong and mortgage interest rates remain low.

The National Association of Realtors(r), "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing approximately 880,000 members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at http://realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section.

REALTOR(r) is a registered collective membership mark, which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(r) and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 14, 2003
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