A Bright Future

From the NAR President: Look beyond tomorrow at the future you want—and begin today to make it happen.

November 1, 2006

Before I started my term as president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, I decided I wanted my theme to be “Tomorrow’s Future Is Today.” Some of my colleagues scratched their heads. “Isn’t that a bit redundant?” they asked. Not really.

My message is that we need to look beyond tomorrow at the future we want—and begin today to make it happen.

I’ve put my strongest focus this year on winning affordable health coverage for you through passage of small-business health plan legislation. This is a bill whose time has come, though we’ll likely need to wait until the dust settles on the midterm elections before we know the outcome of this effort.

On the technology front, we’ve changed how we communicate with you about the industry’s most important issues.

Of course, technology is having an impact in every arena of our lives, including our multiple listing services. That’s why I appointed a presidential advisory group and asked the members to start with a clean slate: What kind of system would we set up if there were no MLS? As a result of the PAG, I believe we’ll continue an important conversation about how our MLSs will evolve.

In another technology initiative, NAR formed an Internet strategy work group made up of not just REALTORS® but also technologists. We all know that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded their company in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage. Well, we need to be the guys in the garage figuring out the next big thing in real estate and developing strategies that will enable your business to thrive in the future.

Back in Washington, we continued our effort to prevent large banks from entering our business, but the battle took on dimensions I didn’t foresee. I didn’t know, for example, that I’d be challenging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on decisions to expand the authority of banks to engage in real estate development or that I’d be speaking against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. allowing retailers such as WalMart and Home Depot into banking. But with our core concerns being the  safety and soundness of the banking system and the independence of banks in making lending decisions, we broadened our fight on the banking issue—with a great measure of success.

We saw the third largest bank holding company withdraw an application before the OCC, and we saw the FDIC institute a six-month moratorium on applications for industrial loan banks. We also continued to enjoy strong support from members of Congress on our positions.

I’m pleased with the progress we made. Most of all, I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to represent you on these critical issues.

As I’ve said before, what’s best for REALTOS® is truly what’s best for our country—whether we’re advancing the use of technology in real estate or advocating for a healthy banking sector or affordable insurance.

To everyone on my Leadership Team and all of you who participated in our efforts by contributing to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee or sending letters to Congress, I thank you. The groundwork we’re laying today will secure a brighter future for our industry, and all Americans, tomorrow.