Bankshot- The one banking bill Congress might actually pass next term

By Victoria Finkle

Published December 02 2018, 9:30pm EST

Conventional wisdom says that it’s going to be a tall order to pass banking legislation next term, but there just might be a key exception.

One measure to watch will be a legislative fix for banks with customers in the legal marijuana business. While success is certainly not guaranteed, a narrow safe harbor for financial institutions in states where cannabis is now permitted is beginning to draw wide support from industry officials as well as from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. As chatter picks up, such a provision could find its way to passage in what may be an otherwise deadlocked term.

“As long as this issue is framed as a targeted and technical fix intended to clarify states’ rights, I think it has a path to passage in the next Congress,” said Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading, who puts the odds of seeing a targeted safe harbor approved at around 75%.

Of course, there will still be hurdles. With Congress divided next term, Republicans and Democrats will need to come to an agreement on what exactly a pot banking fix might entail and how comprehensive a potential carve-out should be. Should legislation, for example, address the steep compliance costs banks face in this market due to requirements that they file suspicious activity reports for state-licensed businesses?

“It’s hard to think of an issue that ought to be an easier, bipartisan slam dunk than cannabis banking, but there are a couple of significant obstacles,” said Aaron Klein, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Klein noted, for example, that if the political debate turns from addressing specific business concerns to a broader fight over the legality of pot at the federal level, that’s likely to make a targeted fix significantly more difficult. It’s also unclear whether the vocal minority of mostly Republican lawmakers who strongly oppose marijuana legalization will block more targeted efforts from passage.

Lawmakers on the banking committees in both chambers will also be busy with impending deadlines — including the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and likely more work on the federal flood insurance program — that could take time away from debating pot banking and other industry initiatives. Yet these bigger measures, along with other major legislative packages focused on government spending and the debt ceiling, could also prove to be a vehicle for more targeted items, such as a pot banking fix, that can be tacked on as policy riders.

Interest in the topic is beginning to tick up as more states legalize marijuana in some form. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who is expected to take over as chairman of the Financial Services Committee next year, told The Wall Street Journal last week that political discussions on this issue are “inevitable.” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting have also raised concerns about the problems facing financial institutions in recent months. The resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who previously revoked Obama-era guidance that offered some protections to businesses operating legally in the marijuana industry — may also bode well for continued discussions.

“I’d certainly put it in the issues-to-watch category,” said James Ballentine, executive vice president of congressional relations and political affairs at the American Bankers Association. “We’re hopeful the topic will get a fair discussion, because it’s simply not going to go away.”

At the same time, there’s already been some groundwork laid in recent months. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced a bill this summer — which was then endorsed by President Trump — that would authorize states to write and enforce their own laws with regard to marijuana, codifying the Obama-era guidelines that Sessions reversed. Legislation by Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Denny Heck, D-Wash., would block federal regulators from issuing enforcement actions against financial institutions banking marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the Senate. That plan has also been backed by the Independent Community Bankers of America.

There’s “a real opportunity” next term to move legislation offering a pot safe harbor for banks, Perlmutter recently told Politico.

With Republicans controlling the Senate and Democrats in charge of the House next term, observers aren’t expecting a lot of big, comprehensive banking packages like the regulatory relief bill signed into law earlier this year. But that doesn’t mean legislation can’t happen — if the industry keeps its eyes on narrow fixes.

Bankshot is American Banker’s column for real-time analysis of today’s news.

12 Insane (But Completely True) Real Estate Facts and Events

by Seth Williams |

1. When the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the designer included a secret apartment for himself at the very top.

2. Mark Zuckerberg purchased four houses next to his home in Palo Alto and leased them back to the families that lived there. He did it to avoid the houses from being marketed as “next door to Mark Zuckerberg.”

3. Monica’s apartment from the hit TV show Friends is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.

4. Since the Empire State Building was opened during the Great Depression, much of its space initially went unrented. As a result, many New Yorkers referred to the building as the “Empty State Building.”

5. In Tunisia, Africa, you can book an overnight stay in Luke Skywalker’s boyhood home for only $10.

6. Adolf Hitler once owned a Hollywood mansion that he never stepped foot in.

7. Despite its free market image, all the land in Singapore is owned by the government, and 85% of housing is provided by a government-owned housing corporation.

8. MS The World is the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth. It has 165 private residences and is constantly traveling around the world.

9. Mike Ilitch (owner of Little Caesars and the Detroit Tigers) quietly paid Rosa Park’s rent for more than a decade after she was robbed in her home and forced to move to a safer, but more expensive part of Detroit.

10. In Japan, most houses depreciate in value. Half of all houses are demolished within 38 years, and there is virtually no market for pre-owned homes. Per capita, there are nearly four times as many architects and more than twice as many construction workers in Japan as the United States.

11. In several major cities like London, Toronto, New York, and elsewhere around the world, there are entire buildings and developments that exist solely for the purpose of hiding vent shafts, utilities, cell phone towers, railways, and simply to give off the “illusion of occupation.”

12. From 1908-1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000-75,000 mail-order houses. They arrived as a kit and came with most modern conveniences (some of them still exist today).


Closed: Norfolk Waterside Marriott



Richmond, VA —  November 17, 2017  — Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners, LLC, a Richmond, Virginia-based commercial real estate investment firm, today announced the acquisition of the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.  The premium branded full-service hotel and conference center includes 405 rooms, nearly 70,000 SF of meeting/conference center space and will immediately undergo a comprehensive $25 million dollar renovation throughout the property.

Norfolk Waterside Marriott is located at the corner of Waterside Drive and East Main Street along the Elizabeth River in the heart of downtown. In the immediate proximity is the recently redeveloped Waterside LIVE!, a $60 million mixed use retail and entertainment development by the Cordish Companies, over 1,500 new luxury multi-family units, the Granby Street retail and restaurant corridor, the newly delivered office of Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP) which will house over 1,800 employees, and MacArthur Mall which offers 1.2 million square feet of shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

Commonwealth Lodging Management, the company’s hotel management affiliate, will operate the hotel.


Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners, headquartered in Richmond, VA, is a vertically integrated, full service real estate investment management firm with additional offices in Charlotte, NC, Greensboro, NC, Greenville, SC, Hampton Roads, VA, Jacksonville, FL, Nashville TN, Raleigh, NC, Reading, PA, and Tampa, FL. Together with its predecessors in the private sector and public REIT sector, its partners have built, acquired and managed nearly 20 million square feet of commercial real estate valued at approximately $2 billion across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Learn more at

Panelists: U.S. economy remains strong but could slow down in the next couple of years


As values of commercial properties skyrocketed in large cities, investors turned their attention — and dollars — to cities such as Richmond, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., according to three panelists who spoke Wednesday at the Eighth Annual Commercial Real Estate Forum hosted by Commonwealth Commercial, a commercial real estate firm in Henrico County.


“Secondary markets are showing great returns on a risk-adjusted basis,” said panelist Ronald Lamontagne, managing director of Partners Group Inc., a Switzerland-based global private markets investment manager.


Small cities such as Richmond offer a low cost of living, which is attractive to companies that want to do business in those cities, said Lamontagne, who works in New York.


About 300 people in the commercial real estate industry attended the afternoon session on “Commercial real estate investing — where are we/where are we heading” at The Westin Richmond hotel in Henrico County.


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