News Release 2006-20 | February 16, 2006

Comptroller Dugan Issues Statement on Meeting with Realtors

WASHINGTON -- Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan issued the following statement today following a meeting with representatives of the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

I met today with representatives from the National Association of Realtors to discuss three recent OCC interpretive letters. Two of the letters involved the use of bank premises and the third involved the financing of a wind energy project. While I believe the meeting was constructive, it is important to reiterate some fundamental principles that sometimes get lost in the public debate, which we did today.

First, none of our interpretive letters has anything to do with real estate brokerage – nothing at all – even though this is the issue of most direct interest to NAR’s members.

Second, there is only limited legal authority for national banks to engage in real estate and investment activities. These approvals fell within that limited authority.

Finally, we fully recognize the limits of this authority and have heard and understood the concerns raised by members of Congress about the separation of banking and commerce. I have no intention of expanding our limited authority to breach this separation. The limits in the three interpretations preclude this result and the OCC will apply these limits consistently to all national banks.

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