The Appraiser is the Only One Policing the Industry

VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of Appraisers in Virginia at Virginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals
Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.
VaCAP Board

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Paid Late AMC Violations

Paid Late, Non C&R fees, Operating Without License AMC Violations

VaCAP has learned North Carolina has disciplined Appraisal Nation and Independent Settlement Services for non-payment within 30 days in accordance with North Carolina Law. See the details below.

How does this help appraisers in Virginia? The answer is simple, precedence! When the VREAB receives a complaint and determines a violation has occurred, there is guidance in disciplinary actions.

On the topic of AMC’s not complying, VaCAP has learned of several AMC’s operating in Virginia without proper licensure. And yes, all of them have been reported to DPOR!

We can not emphasize enough, the importance of filing a complaint against an AMC that you believe is not in compliance with the VREAB Regulations. This is the only way DPOR and the VREAB know about it, can investigate and discipline the AMC if found guilty. It is unfortunate, but the appraiser is the only one policing the industry.

A complaint can be filed for any violation of compliance, but here are the most common:

Non-customary and reasonable fees
Operating without a license
Not paying within 30 days

VaCAP understands you may not want to file a complaint in your name. We are here to help! We will now assist you in filing the complaint anonymously. Keep in mind, some complaints, such as non-payment of C&R fees will be extremely difficult to file anonymously. Reach out to us and let’s determine the best course of action together. We will keep your identity confidential.

Appraisal Nation, LLC NC1002 (Cary, North Carolina)

By consent, the Board voted to suspend Appraisal Nation’s AMC registration for a period of one month. The suspension is stayed until June 30, 2016. They are also ordered to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 by June 30, 62016. In addition they are ordered to, in the future, pay fees to an appraiser within 30 days of the date the appraisal is first transmitted by the appraiser to the Respondent as follows:

  1. If payment is made by electronic means, the funds for the fee shall be deposited into the appraiser’s account so that they are available to the appraiser on the 31st day following the date the appraisal is first transmitted to the company.
  2. If payment is made by check, the check shall be postmarked no later than the 30th day following the date the appraisal is first transmitted to the company.

On December 21, 2014, the Board received a complaint against Appraisal Nation alleging that they failed to pay appraisal fees for five invoices. Appraisal Nation admitted that these invoices were not paid on time. The Complainant has been paid in full for those invoices. Board staff requested and received a spreadsheet from the company for payment activity in 2014. Out of approximately 1,847 appraisal assignments, the company provided payment within the 30 day required payment period 708 times. The average payment time was 38 days. Board staff also requested and received a spreadsheet for activity for a few months in 2015. That information indicated that 42% of the invoices were paid after 30 days.

Information received later in 2015 indicated that assignments have been paid well within 30 days. The company has obtained a line of credit so that there will be no issues in the future with late payment. This was the first complaint against Appraisal Nation. All invoices to date have been paid in full.

Independent Settlement Services NC1086 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

By consent, the Board ordered Independent Settlement Services to pay a civil penalty of $5000 by December 1, 2015. In addition, the company must pay fees to an appraiser within 30 days of the date the appraisal is first transmitted by the appraiser to the company. If the company fails to comply, with Paragraph 2 above, they understand that they may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation. On March 16, 2015, the Board received a complaint against the company filed by an appraiser. The appraiser alleged that the company failed to pay her for an invoice that was submitted to them on December 23, 2014. The company had sent a check to the appraiser on January 19, 2015 which the appraiser did not receive. The appraiser sent an email to the company in February asking about the check, but she sent it to the wrong address so the company was unaware that she had not been paid. Upon receipt of this complaint, the appraiser was paid in full for this invoice. Board staff requested a spreadsheet of all appraisal orders processed by the company in North Carolina for calendar years 2014 and 2015. An examination of the 2014 records indicated that out of approximately 579 appraisal assignments, the company paid within 30 days only 75 times. Most of those were paid within 40 days. The 2015 records indicate that all appraisers were paid within 30 days. The company admits that there were vendors who were paid outside of the 30 day requirement in 2014. They understand that they were not in full compliance in meeting the 30 day time frame and they completely accept responsibility.

Image credit flickr - Steve Snodgrass
VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.

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18 Responses

  1. Baggins - QA please, thank you. Baggins - QA please, thank you. says:

    Oh Greg….  If you cut the head off of one garden snake, another regular garden snake will appear in it’s place tomorrow.  The solution is to remove the financial incentive to depress appraisal fees for variable opportunistic profit.  If appraisers discount that’s their business.  If the cost savings from reduced cost appraisal services is returned to the borrowing consumer, that’s just a simple business decision and is all good.  It’s when the appraiser gets to be the preferred selectee by providing a thing of value by way of reduced fee, and cost savings are morphed into variable opportunistic profit and are not returned to the borrowing consumer, that’s when there is a problem.  Does nobody remember why regulated fees and hud disclosure came about in the first place?  Junk fees are back in force, but they’re lurking in the only place left to levy them, the total appraisal fee.  Which leads me to the reason I wanted to swing by the blogs today and make a post….  Very good coincidence this tidbit of info gets to follow this particular blog posting.

    Will someone please advise if this is an allowable statement and/or position for an amc to adopt.  Pay close attention to the under lined portion and let that sink in.  These concerns have been written on the wall for all to see since the inception of HVCC and everything there after.  Whom dares look?  Is it true that junk fee, unearned fee, hud rules, escrow rules, and all of that is no longer applicable?  How else could the regulated appraisal fee morph into profit sharing?  I don’t get it and would be interested to hear some other appraisers opinion on this.  This company is not the only one, and they’re just following the typical model.  But is the model legal and valid?  Not separating the appraisers and the total appraisal fees on the updated hud forms was a major mistake.  And it was one of the first actions the CFPB took in terms of reg Z compliance.  What a shame.

    AMC SETTLEMENT SERVICES (AMCSS) was founded on the principle of allowing the members of AMC to benefit from the proven efficiencies of vendor management that are currently offered to the nations largest mortgage lenders, while also providing revenue sharing opportunities.

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  2. Baggins - QA please, thank you. Baggins - QA please, thank you. says:

    Well I wrote a letter to CFPB during the open comment period regarding the option for the various proposed updated hud settlement forms.  Some had separated line item for appraiser and management fees, but others did not.  Paid lender lobbyists likely directed that choice.  Per the idealistic idea that appraisers should police themselves, the mechanisms for that are in place, but are no longer utilized in the proper method.  Surely you’ll recall the days when underwriters approved appraisers and not distributors, and underwriters were way up there on the todem pole, well vetted, well experienced, and direct employees of that individual lender or company.  Underwriter would identify issue and remove appraiser from panel or order field review and then decide if appraiser should stay approved via peer review results.  Unfortunately that’s not how field reviews work any more.  Field reviews are ordered via XML 0-1000 rating scores most often, and if the report does not pass the smell test the lender or distributor orders a field to validate the position, rather than maintain integrity of the panel.  Continuing to use appraisers whom routinely have ‘bad’ scores, because those appraisers provide the additional profit via skimmed fees.  So the mechanism in place has morphed from a validation tool regarding panel approval into a stop gap for individual order management and individual report validation.  Preference for assignment is typically based on advocacy, profit sharing, or ‘best terms’ (best for them of course, not for the appraiser), rather than merit and result based selection process.  And with overseas XML reliant underwriting taking a strong foot hold, we certainly don’t want those hooligans being in charge of who’s approved on panel and who’s not.  Neither do we want the GSE in charge of that, although the fear of massive blacklisting via FNMA CU system seems to be ebbing down.  I’ve been on about the lack of cost plus being a violation of the management rule regarding providing a thing of value.  It’s a causation argument because the appraisers fee decision causes financially motivated preference for assignee selection, in clear contrast to existing guidance regarding selecting appraisers on merit. I’ve quoted that FDIC guidance and other similar, in previous articles.  My ‘efforts’ to weed out bad appraisers is effectively limited to review services.  And rightly so because the state and federal enforcement agencies are in place to provide oversight services.  Me, I’m just the sole proprietor valuation specialist and my participatory SOW is appropriately limited.

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  3. Wayne says:

    I keep reading and reading about all of the things that are going on in our profession! I am happy that I am near the end of my career in this silly occupation. From my point of view…there is no extended future in the appraisal profession. The people who want to enter this profession should make a U turn. This is not a profession to feed you into the future. I really hate to say that as I love this profession and really wish it could be a desired occupation. It just cannot be…there are too many folks/groups that will try their best to see us fail!

    The Appraisal Standards Board, Appraisal Foundation, etc. etc will do anything possible to make sure that there are sufficient appraisers available to fill the needs of any AMC or National Appraisal group wanting to exploit said appraisers. These groups MUST have chumps available to do the retard work needed to provide the large profits required by these companies. Who represents us? NO ONE!

    Let’s just say that you are an appraiser and you are paying dues to the Appraisal Institute, ASA, NAIFA, etc…. STOP that and put those dues monies into a champion dividend stock…AT&T, P&G, J&J. If you do that type of thing you will be able to count a lot of money in your retirement years. Heck,,,I am old and silly…so spend your money for a VISIT TO THE expo in Las Vegas! LOL I really do wish all of your well!

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    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      Death by a thousand cuts.

      Wishing you all the best in escaping this dead end JOB Wayne.   As I’ve said ten thousands times…digging graves and shoveling manure beats appraising these days and their far more honorable professions.

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  4. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Even this top story reminds me of appraisers and the injustice forced up them:

     

    Harambe (the gorilla): Part played by the appraisers

    Zoo Keeper: Andrew Cuomo

    Hired Assassin: AMCs

    Kid trying to get closer: Mortgage Brokers

    Negligent Mother: FNMA

    The mortgage brokers try to get closer to the appraiser but fall into the appraisers habitat after getting too close.  The appraisers try to do the right thing and help the mortgage brokers after they get too close.  FNMA  (negligent mother) are nowhere to be found while this is taking place and allows the mortgage brokers to do something really really stupid.  The zoo keeper (Andrew Cuomo) wants to make a name for himself so he instructs the zoo’s hired guns (AMCs) to fire at will and take the appraisers down.

    The zoo keeper (who bears a striking resemblance to Harambe the gorilla) makes a name for himself and is promoted to head zoo keeper in New York.  The assassins are paid well to travel the country and take down every gorilla that tries to make a buck in the business.  The negligent mother (FNMA) not only escapes being prosecuted but she’s given a welfare check each month and fed well for the rest of her life.  The gorilla (appraiser) has his brains blown out for merely trying to take care of the stupid mortgage broker who crossed into the appraiser’s habitat, and the kid (mortgage broker) is allowed to go back home having no clue how stupid he was in the first place.

    History has a way of repeating itself in a billion different variations.

    If you think this ding bat mother deserves to be prosecuted for negligence please sign the above petition.

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  5. Wayne says:

    Many of us are aware of the comedian “Ron White” and his skit where he said that he was given the “right to remain silent” he just did not have the ability. I do understand how he feels. All of us (including me) have the right to remain silent, but….my mouth is like that of a catfish…hard to keep closed!

    When we see FNMA (and others) packaging Mortgage Backed Securities (loans appraised by us and funded by bank of the stupid and sold to FNMA) and then sold to everyone ”’the fire department retirement fund of Holland; the school teachers retirement fund of Iceland, the Maddoff Retirement Series !, !! and ???…Come on, REALLY?

    Oh…but these securities are highly rated by Standard and Poors, Moody’s, etc. They are rated with such high scores as ASS minus and ASS, minus, minus — or maybe BS A++ (BS -for bull shirt) I am no financial guru but it would seem to me that the mortgages used as a basis for these securities are not valued adequately, then the whole enchilada is just crap.

    I base my silly rant on the DAMN fact that FNMA is at this very moment in conservatorship with the Federal Government and may have to be bailed out again in the very near future. Is this REALLY a time to weaken the valuation process for these loans? Really with Wells Fargo recently announcing a silly 3% down payment? Come on…3 damn percent down on the million dollar Mc Mansion with the $8,000. per year property tax.

    Like Ron White, I have the right to remain silent…I probably should, but I will not ever buy any mortgage backed securities or stock in any bank. Best of luck to my fellow appraisers!

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    • Baggins - You don't own it, till you own it. Baggins - You don't own it, till you own it. says:

      Nobody has ever successfully explained to me why there needs to be such a complex web of relationships here.  In house lending, for those whom are not aware of the term, is when there are only 3 participatory parties usually.  Lender, servicer, home owner.  And the good ones the lender is the servicer.  Think of the GSE’s like something on the stock market, answering to investors and shafting the employees to get there.  As the home owner, you fulfill the role of the employee, the worker.  Meanwhile the evil bosses rake all the surplus and leave nothing behind, constantly driving the profit machine further on.  Or you may appreciate this quip;  Monstrously oversized mortgage market.  If you’ve never read up on the wind down the GSE’s positions, you should.  There are a lot of groups asking for that, but they don’t get much traction and exposure because it is true that we’re propped up on debt.  If we did not repackage and sell refried refi’s, something like several million people including all of us would be instantly unemployed.  Plan for the future and remember the end game is getting out and staying out of debt.  Nobody but the consumer themselves is ultimately to blame if they use their home like an atm.  The truth is tough to deal with but needs spoken.  We the People have demanded this system with our insatiable desire for more more more.  I’m about to note Ron Paul again, and the merits of responsible personal financial stewardship.  Corrections start at home, with each one of us individually.  Or go spend and subscribe like you’re made of money.  The choice is entirely yours.  Be an under performer.  Be an over performer.  Or maybe just maybe, one day you’ll eventually remove yourself from this system and be a true home owner instead.

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      • Baggins - You don't own it, till you own it. Baggins - You don't own it, till you own it. says:

        Here is a good one.  Just came up with this.  MOMM  Monstrously Oversized Mortgage Market.   Add in a Yes on the end, and you’ll be crying for MOMMY before you know it.  Excercize emergency maneuver Alpha Riker.  Evade!

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  6. Bill Johnson says:

    Anybody want a 4 to 6 million dollar property fronting the Pacific Ocean (Neptune Ave – Encinitas CA) for $395 minus a $28 technology/delivery fee ($367). This company never pays complexity fees. CALIFORNIA, WHEN WILL YOU HAVE THE POWER TO ENFORCE C&R FEES?

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    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      Throw in a Big Mac & Fries and I’ll come out of retirement to take the job.  😉

      Fees truly have become a cruel joke.

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    • Baggins - Potential Energy Baggins Baggins - Potential Energy Baggins says:

      You have the power and are part of the problem by even allowing that email to hit your inbox without continually placing it in the spam box. Go with the three strikes policy, that sounds like a good one to me. I like this quip;  appraisers do not exist to save anyone a dollar or a day. But if you’d like to save the borrower some bucks, you’re free to cut discounts off of your end. For every amc or any other distributor that wrangled me around, I would make a daily solicitation attempt down the line. I built so much potential energy that I literally cannot even answer the phone any more, disregard messages and bids, place bidders on spam, go on long term vacation setting after a mere 1 strike, so all I have time for is direct orders anyways and even have to turn them down. If you’re even dealing with those companies, you are providing them the coverage to maintain their client relationship and stay in business.  Write direct letters to the lenders and appeal to reason and offer devoted service. Condition that on them either taking control of the amc’s engagement and guaranteeing minimum fees X or better, or simply go direct via mercury, etc. Appraisers who just posture ‘don’t work for amc’s’ miss the big picture. If only lenders would control the amc engagement. So those actions come around eventually and I’ve been the first one called when the lender finally released the amc, years later. Again, build your potential energy and don’t waste time with the time wasting per diem infinite micro management goon squad, aka; unlicensed inexperienced telecom distributor staff (amc or not, it hardly matters any more). You’ll know a good distributor by several criteria; Assign direct for most. Have solid standard fee that is appealing compared to all other amc’s, give 1 week standard or more, do not call you on phone unless you’re over due, and most importantly they will have a senior person in charge of assignment who has experience. If they don’t have a senior guy doing the assignments, you’re dealing with the gossiping nancy circle whom will play favorites w/ order assignment. Absolute best is true rotational and flat fee standard. That’s what you seek out and promote. The truth is out there, you just have to believe. Remember that distributors play the lenders, and game the appraisers to get there. Only support the ethical ones. Deny service to the rest or upcharge them to the point where you’re compensated adequately for the per diem most unreliable and unpredictable order structure. All these guys think there is some mystical pool of appraiser resources still yet untapped. And the next one tomorrow thinks the same thing. They’ll never learn.

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    • JC says:

      What a joke! Who’s the amc? Blacklist their a$$

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      • Bill Johnson says:

        They are a local lender and are not an AMC but are truly ignorant when it comes to complex assignments. They have no appraiser guidelines to follow (USPAP only) (no cost approach, no active listings, no reviews, no reconsiderations, etc.). and pay within a week. I cherry pick assignments and rarely go further than a few miles. On a per hour basis I do okay. On a side note, they know there place and treat me like the expert I am.

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  7. Baggins - No Cigar. Baggins - No Cigar. says:

    Nope. Close but no cigar. I understand completely the business method, and disagree with it. Lenders rise in the ranks of public opinion by their service terms to customers. Now which sort of lender and which sort of distribution process would you care to have in front of you, in the future? That’s what it comes down to. You’re being presumptive if you state a company whom would so severely underbid a jumbo assignment has any bearing what so ever on their appropriate place. Always quiz the home owner on what the lender charged. Despite the rules for appraiser billing on contingency (interpreted to mean pricing scale) you can bet that with many lenders, jumbo appraisals do come with a higher appraisal fee. Having no appraisal guidelines means nothing more than FNMA guidelines and that’s why scope creep is constant for nearly all ML originations. I never cared how long they took to pay me, as long as they paid 350 or better. Then I graduated to 400 or better. Now I’m up to 450 or better and could push that envelope but I don’t even bother any more. Scope creep is real, and even the act of cherry picking assignments represents scope creep. America is about the land of opportunity, not to be interpreted as vulture capitalism where the first in line gets the lions share. Cherry picking is for the birds. I have no quams with taking the good with the bad, as long as the regular fee is enough to keep me going. You’re stacking up bad karma with such actions, because other less fortunate or less able appraisers do not exist just so you can unfairly rake the easy assignments. Another argument in favor of true non negotiable round robin distribution, from the horses mouth. If distributors had any sense to them, they’d kick the cherry pickin appraisers to the curb and go with more loyal, fair minded, and considerate vendors. But they can’t see the forest from the trees. For every order you cherry pick, you put another appraiser in a compromising position. I refuse service to clients whom operate that way and I demand a fair fee and a fair share, or I don’t engage in the first place. If you could not work effectively on the other side of that coin, you’re a part of the problem, not the solution. I engage marketing and debate in a way which is good for all my peers, not just myself. This is not a last man standing free for all just yet. United we stand, divided we fall. When challenged on ethic, turn to the tried and true American mantras. I believe that whole heartedly. Make Appraisal Great Again.

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  8. Bill Johnson says:

    I understand your logic, but along with being an appraiser I’m also a business owner. Holding the moral high ground for $450 (??), while being subjected to 15 page engagement letters, demands for 6+ comps, FHA type inspections, standard reconsideration of value requests, weak lender/AMC firewalls, etc., may result in reduced net profits.

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