Realtors’ Group Raises Transparency Bar With New Election Process
The National Association of Realtors, whose members regularly handle what for many consumers is their most important financial transaction, is demanding a new level of personal financial transparency from its volunteer leaders.
Those seeking to run for elected office within the National Association of Realtors will soon be required to divulge their personal financial backgrounds.
According to a new report from NAR’s Elections Presidential Advisory Group, candidates for the organizations’ top volunteer leadership positions will need to meet the following criteria:
- no personal bankruptcy or foreclosures within the last seven years
- a credit score above the baseline required for a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration
- no current delinquent tax filings or payments
This set of benchmarks is just one of the changes to NAR’s campaign and election process that the advisory group recommended to create a more “efficient and inclusive” process, according to the group’s NAR Elections Report [PDF].
Other recommendations included shortening the campaign and election timeline to 10 months and requiring sitting NAR officers to file a quarterly report verifying any changes to their criminal, financial, or legal status.
“There is a need for clearer rules and stricter oversight on credentials and campaign activities, as well as a need for strict enforcement and consequences for violations,” the report noted.
NAR’s board approved the overhaul of the association’s election process, which will go into effect January 1, 2015, said Sara Wiskerchen, a spokesperson for NAR.
Working to improve governing standards and ethics is nothing new to real estate-related professional associations. Two weeks ago, the California Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest state-focused real estate group, announced it will publish information about its members’ ethics violations in a members-only section of CAR’s website.
It’s part of the association’s effort to encourage professionalism among its 165,000 members, according to CAR Vice President and General Counsel June Barlow.
“The main thing is that our members know what behavior is appropriate and what isn’t,” Barlow told Inman News. “They are required now to take code of ethics training, but sometimes people need to be reminded.”