The Real Deal New York

WATCH: John Banks on the controversial construction safety bill, StreetEasy, REBNY’s RLS & more

Head of lobbying group sits down for an exclusive interview with TRD
By Jhila Farzaneh and Hiten Samtani | October 09, 2017 09:15AM

The Real Estate Board of New York, some critics say, should be renamed “The Commercial Real Estate Board of New York,” given what they see as a one-sided devotion to causes dear to commercial developers and brokers. But John Banks doesn’t buy that.

During an exclusive interview with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani, Banks, who’s been at the helm of the influential trade organization since 2015, contrasted some of REBNY’s key recent milestones, such as the renewal of the 421a tax abatement and the Midtown East rezoning, with the significant but lower-key work being done on behalf of residential brokers.

“421a, East Midtown, those are broad public policy issues,” Banks said. “There aren’t broad public policy issues for the brokerage community – they’re independent contractors and there’s not a lot where the political process, which is where REBNY is publicly known, can provide for them … and so it makes us harder for us to have the same value proposition.”

He pointed to the rollout of REBNY’s residential listings service (RLS) as a potential game-changer for the residential community. The syndicated feed debuted on Aug. 1, and includes listings from Realtor.com, Homes.com and the New York Times, as well as listings from many of the city’s big firms. But StreetEasy, which has so far refused to feed the RLS, remains the existential question mark.

Banks spoke candidly on several key topics that are shaping the future of the industry, from the controversial construction bill known as Intro 1447, to the upcoming state Senate races, to REBNY’s expansion into the outer boroughs.

Watch the full interview above. And see more unplugged interviews with the likes of Taconic Investment Partners, Steve Witkoff, Robert Futterman and more.

Produced by Jhila Farzaneh and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani