REBNY considers lending cash to brokers affected by coronavirus

Talks underway about using Member in Need fund to help agents

TRD New York /
Mar.March 19, 2020 01:00 PM
From left: BHS' Bess Freedman, Halstead's Diane Ramirez, Cororan's Pam Liemban and REBNY's James Whelan (Credit: Getty Images

From left: BHS’ Bess Freedman, Halstead’s Diane Ramirez, Cororan’s Pam Liemban and REBNY’s James Whelan (Credit: Getty Images)

The Real Estate Board of New York might tap its Member in Need fund to support agents affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual panel discussion moderated by The Real Deal Wednesday night, Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman said the board was considering whether the fund — designed to support agents who are in financial need because of unexpected illness or hardship — could be deployed in the pandemic.

Elaborating further, Halstead Real Estate CEO Diane Ramirez said the arrangement would basically be a “loan against business.”

“So, if you have a deal that’s delayed and closing … hopefully [the agent] will be able to go to REBNY In Need to be able to do something to to hold them over,” she said.

A spokesperson for the board said in a statement that the Member in Need Fund “will continue to provide grants to members facing financial hardship”.

“We are working closely with board members to come up with additional ways to provide maximum assistance to members during this crisis,” they added.

Like many other businesses, real estate brokerages across New York City are struggling to deal with the economic fallout of the virus, which has led several firms to shut their offices, and created a split over whether in-person showings should proceed.

In a letter Thursday to Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin asked Congress to include independent contractors in a major economic stimulus package.

On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors said it was also advocating for relief. “Last week, we urged congressional leaders to include robust protections for small business owners and the self-employed in this bill,” Shannon McGahn, NAR’s senior vice president of government affairs, said in a statement. “This bill does both, and with the structure of the tax credits, financial relief will come quickly.”

Brokerage firms are also looking at internal options to support their agents, Liebman said.

“We have Corcoran Care, which raises over a million dollars a year,” she said. “We’re looking at whether some of that money can be redeployed.”

“It’s a work in progress, changing day to day, but I’m sure every one of us is looking at it.”

Howard Lorber, executive chairman of Douglas Elliman, said his firm was looking at waiving and deferring agent fees during the pandemic.

On the topic of the REBNY fund, he added that Elliman already has a similar system in place.

“If someone needs money and they have a signed contract, we lend them money,” he said.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
John Banks

High expectations: A look at John Banks’ 4 years at REBNY

High expectations: A look at John Banks’ 4 years at REBNY
John Banks

John Banks to step down as REBNY president

John Banks to step down as REBNY president
REBNY Awards

Newmark Knight Frank wins REBNY retail award for Alamo Drafthouse deal in FiDi

Newmark Knight Frank wins REBNY retail award for Alamo Drafthouse deal in FiDi
Gov. Andrew Cuomo with Judge Lawrence Marks and Judge Daniele Chinea (Getty, Linkedin, iStock)

Flip-flop on eviction ban extension highlights state’s chaotic response

Flip-flop on eviction ban extension highlights state’s chaotic response
Nelson Rockefeller and 812 Fifth Avenue Photos via Getty; StreetEasy; Google Maps)

Fifth Ave co-op owned by Rockefeller family hits market

Fifth Ave co-op owned by Rockefeller family hits market
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner with 199 Mott Street (Getty; Modlin Group)

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner list NYC pied-à-terre for $5.9M

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner list NYC pied-à-terre for $5.9M
A million homeowners haven’t requested forbearance on their mortgages — and are now at risk for foreclosure and eviction. (iStock)

1M struggling homeowners didn’t request forbearance. Now what?

1M struggling homeowners didn’t request forbearance. Now what?
Douglas Durst (Getty)

Douglas Durst tapped to be next REBNY chair

Douglas Durst tapped to be next REBNY chair
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...