Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More than one way to skin Kelo

This is unexpected and gratifying:

BB&T, the nation’s ninth largest financial holdings company with $109.2 billion in assets, announced today that it “will not lend to commercial developers that plan to build condominiums, shopping malls and other private projects on land taken from private citizens by government entities using eminent domain.”

In a press release issued today by the bank, BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Allison, said, “The idea that a citizen’s property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided, in fact it’s just plain wrong. One of the most basic rights of every citizen is to keep what they own. As an institution dedicated to helping our clients achieve economic success and financial security, we won’t help any entity or company that would undermine that mission and threaten the hard-earned American dream of property ownership.”

“BB&T’s principled stand sets an example that should inspire other lenders and should become the new industry standard,” said Institute for Justice President and General Counsel Chip Mellor. The Institute for Justice litigated the Kelo case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the taking of private property for someone else’s private use in the guise of “economic development.” Mellor said, “You can and should accomplish economic development through private negotiation, not the use of government force through eminent domain. As far as we’re concerned, BB&T now stands for Best Bank in Town.”
Three cheers for BB&T. Here's hoping the rest of the private financial sector beats out our elected federal representatives in outlawing public power grabs. (ht: Tyler Cowen @ The Volokh Conspiracy)


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