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Federal regulators end special oversight of The University National Bank

Perhaps this is one more sign that a recovery in Lawrence’s housing market is starting to take hold.

Leaders with The University National Bank of Lawrence announced today that federal regulators recently have ended their special oversight of the bank, which was related to the bank’s struggles during the real estate downturn.

According to federal documents, the Comptroller of the Currency has ended a Formal Agreement that it had with The University National Bank dating back to 2009. The Formal Agreement had placed lending limitations on the bank and had required the bank to undertake a special strategic plan.

“We could not be more pleased with this news,” said Todd Sutherland, president and CEO of the bank. “This decision by our primary regulator validates our long-term strategic vision that UNB will continue to serve its customers, shareholders and staff in a safe and sound manner well into the future.”

Sutherland said the bank now is free to pursue the strategies it sees fit for the Lawrence market, both in residential and commercial lending.

Sutherland told me that he believe there is reason for some optimism on the residential real estate front. “We’re starting to see some positive signs,” Sutherland said. “I think housing is starting to recover, although slowly. But we’re seeing again that houses that are priced appropriately will sell. We’ve had a correction take place.”

Sutherland said he has a strong outlook for 2013.

“We’re very positive on it,” Sutherland said. “As long as interest rates stay low, and the Fed has made that commitment, it bodes well for housing.”

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