“Man has got to know his limitations.” -- Inspector Harold Francis Callahan, SFPD
by Andrew Walden
Four years after the ‘Bank of Abercrombie’ bill was laughed out of the legislature, the push for a state-owned bank is being revived in the form of HB326 sponsored by Reps. Calvin Say, Clift Tsuji, Marcus Oshiro, and Isaac Choy.
Their plan involves redirecting hundreds of millions of dollars of State money to an as-yet nonexistent bank focusing its lending efforts on troubled Hawaii mortgages. HB326 doesn’t actually create the bank, instead mandating the DCCA to come up with legislation. But the bill directs HHFDC to rush out with millions of dollars in taxpayer money and begin buying up “distressed residential properties encumbered by problematic mortgages” right away.
Testifying against a similar bill in 2012, Stefanie Sakamoto of the Hawaii Credit Union League explained: “…the state would be in an extremely precarious situation in the event of any financial difficulty within the bank, and within the state. Coupled with the notion of purchasing troubled mortgages, this could be an extremely dangerous concept, which would place taxpayer money at enormous risk….”
Introduced in 2015, HB326 is double referred on sheet one to CPC and Finance. The bill has no Senate companion.
HB326 will be heard Wednesday, January 27 at 2:30pm before the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee chaired by Rep Angus McKelvey.
UPDATE: HB326 deferred by CPC Jan 27, 2016
HB326: Hearing Notice Before CPC
HB326: Text, Status “Directs DCCA to conduct a comprehensive review of relevant state laws to develop legislation to establish the bank of the State of Hawaii. Appropriates funds to conduct the review. Directs the HHFDC to establish and operate an interim purchase program for distressed residential properties encumbered by problematic mortgages until the bank of the State of Hawaii is operational. Establishes minimum percentages of state funds that shall be deposited in the bank of the State of Hawaii.”
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