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Financial Reform Will Test Patience of Commercial Real Estate Professionals

It will be months or years before the commercial real estate industry feels — or even fully understands — the full impact of sweeping financial reforms that the president signed into law earlier this month, experts say.

In the meantime, mortgage lenders, investors and other seasoned professionals have an opportunity to make sure that rules promulgated under the new law will allow healthy business activity to thrive without strangling liquidity.

“It is critical that financial regulators carefully coordinate and customize rules to provide much needed certainty and confidence," said Lisa Pendergast, president of the CRE Finance Council, in a statement issued July 21.

Earlier that day, President Obama signed into law the 2,300-plus page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The measure is intended to correct a slew of conditions that contributed to the financial crisis that began in 2007, including predatory lending and systemic risk in the banking system.

The signing sets off a plethora of government studies as federal regulators work to come up with specific regulations that carry out the reform act’s principles. Among those information-gathering activities is a 90-day study being conducted by the Federal Reserve to gauge the impact of the new reforms on the market.

And speaking of federal regulators, there will soon be more of them. Provisions of the reform act create a Financial Stability Oversight Council to monitor systemic risks, a Federal Insurance Office to address regulatory issues that may render the financial system vulnerable to systemic failure, and a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to write laws that protect consumers from unfair lending.

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