Financial Reform Passes: Tonic for Cynical Times
by David Brauner, Editor
The groundbreaking financial reform legislation signed into law in July leaves little for appraisers to complain about and in fact offers hope to a beleaguered profession.
The language supports appraiser independence, addresses appraisal management companies (AMCs), further defines the concept of customary and reasonable fees, provides more money for enforcement and asserts control over broker price opinions (BPOs) and automated valuation products, acknowledging that they are not the equivalent of a licensed appraiser. It also sunsets the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC).
Remember this: when the loudest voices in and around this industry hailed HVCC, supported and defended the tactics of (certain) AMCs and dismissed your feedback as the complaints of a few “back pocket” appraisers terrified at the prospect of having to compete on a level playing field, many of you stood up and fought back. You contacted your representatives, participated in petitions and letter writing campaigns, supported the efforts of the professional organizations, software vendors and others who made things happen and took part in the Working RE/OREP Talkback Survey(s) and Blog in great numbers, indicating quite clearly that it was not just the rants of a few disgruntled appraisers.
The majority of you, with over 9,000 participating in the two surveys, told us that HVCC resulted in lower quality appraisals, higher costs to consumers and continued pressure- for value, for unreasonably fast turnaround times and for too-low-to-go fees. Thousands of you told us it is not possible to do a thorough report for the fees AMCs demanded and therefore, quality was suffering, no matter what Fannie and Freddie were saying to the contrary. Congress, it seems, came down squarely on your side.