Pittsburgh-based PNC bank buys RBC Bank for $3.45 billion
In a move sure to negatively affect Homeowners Associations, Condominium Associations and Property Owner Associations and the professional association management companies who use their services, Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group is buying Raleigh-based RBC Bank in a deal worth $3.45 billion. The deal was announced early Monday after media reports over the weekend said PNC Financial had topped Winston-Salem based BB&T in the bidding for RBC.
"The addition of RBC Bank provides PNC a great opportunity to enter attractive southeast markets in a way that will create value for our shareholders," said James Rohr, PNC's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "This transaction represents an outstanding growth opportunity for PNC." Citing “people with knowledge of the matter” as its sources, Bloomberg said over the weekend that PNC would buy RBC. The Wall Street Journal also reported the deal in advance of the official announcement. The purchase price is made up of cash and stock. PNC reportedly will also acquire credit assets from RBC, pushing the deal total to $3.62 billion, Bloomberg said. PNC, which is buying RBC from its parent firm, the Royal Bank of Canada, is already targeting cost savings, which could translate into job cuts. In the statement, PNC said it expected to “achieve a reduction of approximately $230 million, or 27 percent, of RBC Bank (USA) and SmartStreet the RBC HOA bank division non-interest expense through operational and administrative efficiency improvements.”
This move will directly impact clients of the SmartStreet®division of RBC Bank, including associations and homeowners in those associations, through potential new fees for existing services that have been free under RBC Bank. The potential new fees would be charged for using lockbox payment processing (check by mail), Credit Card Merchant Services (online credit card and eCheck payments), ACH (automatic monthly debits from owners accounts), association loans, and monthly analysis fees for checking accounts associated with PNC's Treasury Service Division. All of which are currently used every day by SmartStreet® Banking Customers and their management companies.
In 2006 when RBC Bank aquired SmartStreet® in its purchase of Flag Bank, many clients experienced issues with making deposits in RBC branches, inaccessibility of funds, and customer service issues. It has also been suggested by industry officials that many of the SmartStreet® clients would be adversly affected during the merger and integration with PNC in many of the same ways.
As many of you know, the House Select Committee on Homeowners Associations introduced a far-reaching 14-page bill in the 2011 legislative session which would have made sweeping changes for all condominium and planned community associations in North Carolina, affecting a wide variety of areas from assessment collection to record keeping. Through active lobbying efforts and significant opposition to this proposed legislation, House Bill 165 was dramatically scaled back from its original proposal, and the amended bill was enacted by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Perdue on June 27, 2011.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed this situation in A Committee For A Better Twin Rivers, v. Twin Rivers Homeowners' Association. In the Supreme Court's decision, authored by Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., the Court determined that even in light of New Jersey's broad interpretation of its constitutional free speech provisions, the "nature, purposes, and primary use of Twin River's property was for private purposes and did not favor a finding that the Association's rules and regulations violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights." The Court found that "plaintiffs' expressional activities were not unreasonably restricted" by the Association's rules and regulations. Finally, the Court held that "the minor restrictions on plaintiffs' expressional activities were not unreasonable or oppressive, and the Association was not acting as a municipality."
The Twin Rivers Court found that "the Association permits expressional activities to take place on plaintiffs' property but with some minor restrictions". The Association must
For those of you who live in condominiums, you know how important FHA approval can be. Without such approval, purchasers can have difficulty obtaining financing for purchasing a condo. (After all, FHA-insured mortgages are between 30 and 40 percent of all condominium mortgages, and FHA insurance is typically required on mortgages where there is less than a 20 percent down payment.)
FHA approval requirements have been in flux for many months. Last week the FHA issued a “Consolidation and Update of Approval Requirements” that formalizes many of the requirements. At a minimum under the guidelines, to be eligible for FHA financing a condominium must:
New guidance released this week by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ) reinforced the right of persons with disabilities to make "reasonable modifications" to their dwellings if a structural change to their dwelling or to a common area of the building or complex in which they live is needed so that they can fully enjoy the premises.
The guidance is designed to help housing providers and homeowners' associations better understand their obligations and help persons with disabilities better understand their rights regarding the "reasonable
modifications" provision of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA).
HOA Self Test to Determine Whether Your Association Must Comply with ADA Pool Regulations
Unlike the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) applies to “places of public accommodation” and not to private property, such as an HOA swimming pool. However, certain circumstances may exist that transform private facilities into public facilities and bring a private community under the purview of the ADA. Take the below tests to see if your community pool is subject to ADA requirements.
New Federal Regulations Covering Disabled Employees Will Affect Greater Numbers of Associations
By: Mark A. Trank, Esq.
On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final revised Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in order to implement the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. These new regulations will affect virtually all associations that employ 15 or more individuals, since they are covered under the ADA.
The ADA Amendments Act made important changes to the definition of the term “disability” by rejecting the holdings in several U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
Religious sect making fake claims on homes in Charlotte area, officials say
WEDDINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Officials at Charlotte-area courthouses say they are seeing an epidemic of frivolous paperwork filed by people claiming the right to seize foreclosed property.
The bogus deeds are being filed by people who claim to belong to the Moorish Science Temple of America, an obscure religious sect founded in the 1920s with beliefs loosely connected to Islam.
In one incident, a real estate agent and a couple viewing a foreclosed $700,000 home in the Union County town of Weddington were confronted on June 1 by two men who produced a deed claiming the home in the name of the Moorish Science Temple, The Mecklenburg Times reported.
In December, Federal Housing Administration approval of condominiums began to expire. FHA approved mortgages account for an estimated 40 percent of financing in condominiums. Without FHA approval, owners may have a hard time selling their units. HUD is administering the new approval process and insurance requirements, which are set forth by Mortgagee Letter 2009-46 B.