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WASHINGTON -Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) was joined by six other senators Jan. 25 in reintroducing the Community Choice in Real Estate Act, S. 98. The other six senators included: Sens. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Russell Reingold (D-Wis.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). The legislation permanently prohibits big banking conglomerates from entering real estate brokerage or property management. Banking conglomerates have requested permission from the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department to sell and manage real estate under the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The bill clarifies congressional intent and amends the Bank Holding Company Act to preclude national bank holding companies and their subsidiaries from entering the real estate business. A companion bill, H.R. 111, was introduced in Congress by U.S. Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) on Jan. 4, when the 109th Congress convened. S. 98 is identical to legislation that was introduced in the last Congress and that 28 U.S. senators and 255 members of the House of Representatives signed on to. The measure has the backing of various consumer, community, and small business advocates.

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