THE DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law July 21, will undoubtedly impact commercial real estate lending. But with so much rule-making yet to come, it may be years before the Act's impact will be fully felt.

In fact, regulators are still gathering information on the provisions that will emerge from the Act. “The bill creates more uncertainty,” says Dan Fasulo, managing director of New York-based market research firm Real Capital Analytics. “It's going to take years to figure out what rules they're going to come up with.”

For multifamily borrowers, there are two provisions that may impact access to both construction loans from banks and CMBS loans from conduit lenders. One provision requires banks to keep higher capital reserves to protect against losses, which means there is less money at a bank's disposal to lend. Another provision may require conduit lenders to retain a portion of risk for some CMBS loans they close or issue.

There are also two multifamily-specific provisions in the Act. One directs banking regulators to establish “reasonable” fees for credit card transactions. This allows apartment owners to pass these fees on to residents, letting them set different payments for cash, debit, ACH, and credit card transactions—all within the same payment portal or channel. Additionally, the law directs HUD to create a program to provide new equity to “at risk” multifamily properties, and create a long-term financing program for those properties based on current income and reserves.