Bank refuses to lend money for eminent domain development

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Posts on the Eminent Domain Watch blog tend to come in bursts, and there was another burst of posting earlier today, including this cheery item, from a January 25th AP story:

Regional bank BB&T will make no loans to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens by the government through the power of eminent domain.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided; in fact it's just plain wrong," John Allison, chairman and chief executive of the Winston-Salem-based bank, said Wednesday....

"While we're certainly optimistic about the pending legislation [limiting eminent domain for private development], this is something we could not wait any longer to address," said BB&T chief credit officer Ken Chalk. "We're a company where our values dictate our decision-making and operating standards. From that standpoint, this was a straightforward decision; it's simply the right thing to do."

Emphasis added. BB&T is the nation's ninth-largest bank, so this could have some impact.

Here's a link to BB&T's corporate press release on the matter, which has this quote from CEO John Allison:

One of the most basic rights of every citizen is to keep what they own. As an institution dedicated to helping our clients achieve economic success and financial security, we won’t help any entity or company that would undermine that mission and threaten the hard-earned American dream of property ownership.

Meanwhile in Tulsa, at today's KRMG/Kiwanis Club mayoral debate, Kathy Taylor said, "We cannot take private property if it is not for a clear public use.... We do not use eminent domain to take private property to enrich private developers." Bill LaFortune talked about the Kelo decision in terms of homes being taken for shopping and said that that was wrong. He then pointed to the Council's one-year moratorium on eminent domain for private development.

It would have been more informative to have heard their comments about specific scenarios: Would you approve condemning the Towerview apartment building so that the entire block could be made available to a hotel developer? Would you approve condemning Metro Diner so that the University of Tulsa, a private college, can have a grand entrance on 11th Street?


Bobby Author Profile Page said:

Since LaFortune eluded to the one year moratorium on ED for private purposes; am I right in assuming that he signed the resolution?

Mike said:

Michael, this is indeed good news. As you know, I am a commercial banker here in Tulsa, and I certainly have no intention of pursuing or making any such loans myself. And you can take that to the bank!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 20, 2006 8:05 PM.

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