In today’s Wall Street Journal, an article titled “Dodgy Home Appraisals Make a Comeback” was front page news and created quite a stir online. The article references statements made by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) dating back to September 2013, when it summarized the results of lender examinations conducted in 2012. Although the article lacks specific data, appraisers, lenders and government officials interviewed for this article either directly acknowledged or implied that inflated appraisals are making a comeback with the economic recovery.
This is a huge concern for the market and for a mortgage industry that has just started to regain its credibility. However, from our perspective, what’s also alarming is the finger pointing. Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) point to appraiser quality, appraisers point to the AMC or the lender, and regulators point to the lender as being the source of the issue. This is not productive for anyone and is very risky.
At Accurate Group, we are rising above the fray. Over a year ago, we announced that Accurate Group was creating a new paradigm – the Appraisal Management and Compliance Company (AMCC™). As part of this effort, we invested heavily in technology, people and processes to ensure we deliver the best combination of quality, price, speed and compliance for every appraisal and property valuation we handle. This includes:
- The broadest and deepest set of appraisal techniques and products to ensure the right type of appraisal for each loan type
- The most thorough screening process and highest quality, nationwide network of appraisers – licensed, certified and continuously reviewed
- End-to-end process and data transparency for all parties accessible via our SaaS technology platform
- Enforcement of rules and process workflows both through our innovative technology platform and on-shore human oversight by our highly-trained appraisal review committee
- An Accurate Audit™ Kit that documents appraisal compliance and can be provided to government officials in the case of an audit.
Accurate Group prides itself on quality, integrity and strong collaborative partnerships with both our lender clients and our appraiser network. Finger pointing is not productive for anyone. What is productive is taking a proactive stance toward improving quality, accuracy and transparency through every step of the real estate lending process, including appraisal and valuation.
Most banks and mortgage lenders have now voluntarily aligned appraisal management outsourcing, appraisal review and oversight with the credit risk function – a move we strongly support. In most institutions, the mortgage sales function now has a limited role in the appraisal process. The elimination of these legacy structural deficiencies helps significantly limit appraiser influence and external pressure to deliver specific values. For institutions that continue to manage their own appraisers or appraisal panels, outsourcing the appraisal management function to a company with the right systems and focus on compliance provides an added layer of third-party oversight and avoids the potential issues associated with improper appraiser influence.
Don’t play defense when it comes to appraisal integrity and compliance – take the offense by partnering with Accurate Group as your Appraisal Management and Compliance Company.
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