What’s In a Relationship?

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Relationships with Companies Harming Appraisers' Interests ... Wells Fargo

Salvaging Relationships with Appraisers…

Wells Fargo, one of the oldest banks in the country, is working hard to salvage relationships, not with just customers and regulators, but appraisers as well. Wells Fargo recently stopped using Appraisal Management Companies and is aggressively trying to build an appraisal panel of their own.

Appraisers are excited that one of the largest banks in the country is no longer using AMC’s. We give Wells Fargo high “Kudos” for making a change in the right direction. However, there is a bit of a dilemma when making an informed decision whether to have a relationship with Wells Fargo or not. We need to dig a little deeper.

Appraisers should have all the information to analyze all the pros and cons to make an informed decision on what business and personal relationships to maintain. Wells Fargo is utilizing Appraisal Port. Appraisal port is owned by FNC. FNC was recently purchased by CoreLogic. CoreLogic is a member of the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association (REVAA). REVAA is the AMC trade group which has been lobbying our regulators and making false claims of appraiser shortages and other mistruths about our industry. They have been attempting the demise of the appraiser. Is it possible to avoid CoreLogic entirely and still be an appraiser? Maybe, maybe not. CoreLogic just acquired Mercury Network for $155.5 million. Appraisers should have all the information to analyze all the pros and cons to make an informed decision on what business and personal relationships to maintain. Should appraisers have a relationship with companies that do not have their best interest in mind? Do you have a relationship with REVAA members? Should you? Click here to see a list of REVAA members.

To discuss concerns over CoreLogic’s holdings within the industry, contact the FTC at antitrust@ftc.gov or click here to file a formal complaint.

Wells Fargo’s history started 165 years ago when they opened for business on July 13, 1852. Below are some memories of Wells Fargo from the past 30 years.* This list includes only “memories” from Wells Fargo and does not include “memories” associated with acquisitions of other companies by Wells Fargo.

  • 1986 – $75,000 fine for failing to report larger currency transactions
  • 1992 – $43 million settlement of a law suit for fixing interest rates on credit cards
  • 2002 – $150,000 penalty to settle SEC charges of switching customers among Mutual Funds
  • 2005 – $3 million fine for improper sales of mutual funds
  • 2009 – $1.4 million buy back of auction-rate securities for misleading investors
  • 2011 – $1 million fine for failing to send disclosure statements to customers
  • 2011 – $16 million to settle charges of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • 2011 – $125 million settlement for misrepresenting the quality of mortgage backed securities
  • 2011 – $85 million civil penalty for steering good credit customers to sub-prime mortgages
  • 2011 – $37 million settlement for municipal bond rigging
  • 2011 – $2 million fine for sales of reverse convertible securities
  • 2011 – $2.1 million fine for failing to properly supervise the sale of exchange-traded funds.
  • 2012 – $25 billion settlement for loan servicing and foreclosure abuses
  • 2012 – $175 million settlement for discrimination of African –American and Hispanic mortgage lending
  • 2012 – $6.5 million settlement for failing to research risks associated with mortgage backed securities
  • 2013 – $8.5 billion to resolve claims of foreclosure abuses
  • 2013 – $42 million settlement for not maintaining and marketing foreclosed homes in certain neighborhoods
  • 2013 – $869 million repurchase agreement of loans that did not meet Freddie Mac guidelines
  • 2014 – $4 million fine for allowing stock analyst to solicit business and offer favorable research of an initial stock offering
  • 2016 – SEC charged Wells Fargo with defrauding investors on municipal bonds
  • 2016 – $1.2 billion settlement for loans not meeting FHA guidelines
  • 2016 – $3.6 million fine and $410,000 in restitution for illegal student loan servicing practices
  • 2016 – $185 million fine for opening “fake” accounts in customers names that did not request them
  • 2016 – Bank Executives ordered to pay back $116 million in compensation as a result of “fake” account scandal
  • 2016 – $50 million settlement for overcharging borrowers on appraisals
  • 2017 – 5.4 million in back pay & legal fees to the whistleblower of the fake account scandal
  • 2017 – Accused of modifying mortgages of customers in bankruptcy without court approval
  • 2017 – City of Philadelphia accuses Wells Fargo for targeting minorities with high cost mortgages
  • 2017 – $80 million in unnecessary auto insurance added to accounts

As you can see, Wells Fargo has been “stellar” over the past 30 years. With so many fines, settlements, lawsuits, and accusations, should appraisers have a relationship, professional or personal, with such a “model” company? Take a look at the time line. They are being “stellar” more and more since 2009. Are your personal and business ethics a good match to have a relationship with Wells Fargo? Could your reputation be harmed? What is your liability in doing business with a company with a long history of wrong doing?

The decision is yours; make it an informed one.

* Compiled from the following sources:
Wells Fargo: Corporate Rap Sheet
Wells Fargo may be in hot water again
Philadelphia accuses Wells Fargo of targeting minorities with high-cost mortgages
Embattled Wells Fargo now rocked by car insurance scandal

By John J. Appraiser, Certified Real Estate Appraiser – author requested to remain anonymous

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52 Responses

  1. e. j. b. says:

    They recently tried to get me to join their panel but after seeing everything negative about Wells I decided not to get involved. And it is easy to get along without CoreLogic. I’ve already black listed ALL their customers over the years.  But I am getting crabby in my old age and won’t put up with a bunch of crap.

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    • Jeff says:

      haha me too. I have black listed most of the big banks and loving it. I’m in the process of blacklisting the ACI upload program all together as well.

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  2. Steven says:

    What a great time for them to get into the AMC business. They can rip off appraisers now instead of their own customers.  I’ll never do business with them.

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  3. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    When I  started reading, I figured “OK. let’s see what they are doing different now.” As I read the citations of the 29 SERIOUS integrity related offenses I remembered prior posts about WF. “Why would ANYONE with an ounce of self respect and personal integrity become associated with a firm like this?

    If an appraiser were culpably involved in even one of the cited cases, would they still have their license?

    Recent reported transgressions run right up into 2017 and they still use REVAA supporters and members?

    So WHAT exactly have they done about cleaning up their act? Cut out the fall guy?

    I will not knowingly support members of REVAA. Im trying to avoid CoreLogic but that particular megalythic monopoly seems unavoidable. Its assumed that FTC exempt monopoly must be contributing to the right politicians.

    IF WF turned over a new leaf they would be paying C&R fees voluntarily. Instead, they voluntarily join the main organization fighting to suppress  fees.

    “No thank you WF!” Until your minimum fee paid to appraisers for non complex work is $550 PAID AT THE DOOR (or before), you show that in effect nothing has changed in your leaderships thinking..If CoreLogics AVM value estimates are so good, maybe your investors should just rely on them.

    As for joining in praising their new direction, I don’t think so. If a serial rapist or murderer committed 29 crimes and only stopped when they were caught I wouldn’t be very forgiving. Why should WF be any different?

    That they are allowed to continue as bankers at all is a testament to how truly corrupt our Members of Congress really are…on BOTH sides of the aisle.

     

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    • mike hunts says:

      Corelogic routinely in a super rural market wants to pay $275 for a 5 day turn time for markets which see as few as 10 transactions of any kind in the prior 3 years within 10 miles.

      and yes-WF and BofA are their main PITA clients and their robo-report submission portals are illiterate-completely unable to read 1 or more complete pages of detailed commentary.

      If its not a checkbox-it doesnt pass.

      Double fee.

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      • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

        Mike, ANYONE that is offering $275 for a non complex full appraisal anywhere in the United States is a parasitic opportunist without an ounce of integrity or professional competency in real estate appraisal.

        ANYONE. I won’t work for people like that. Any lender that hires a firm that acts like that is managed by damn fools and deserves every fine and lawsuit they will eventually wind up getting…just like WF has. Its the thought process that causes illegal actions. They cant clean up their business ‘acts’ until they clean up their thinking.

        No one should work for less than $525 for a non complex full appraisal. We have been fighting for $450 fees for so long that they too have now become less than reasonable. I use the Richmond VA Regional Loan Centers metric of whats C&R. So, use AMC logic. If location or complexity is only worth a premium of $25 then if you live in a low cost of living area only give them a $25 discount.

        I urge ALL appraisers in the US to set at least $500 as their minimum fee for a complete appraisal. Come get me FTC!

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        • mike hunts says:

          Agreed-just because they get offered, doesnt mean those fees are accepted.

          In-n-Out burger pays more than that. My lawn guy charges more than that… LOL

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  4. Woody Fincham says:

    How can anyone take an article seriously when the author won’t even disclose who they are?

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    • John J Appraiser says:

      Seriously Woody? Are you that out of touch with what is going on in the industry?.  The point of the article is for appraisers to be aware of who they do business with. The facts of the article are just that, facts. Does it really matter what name is at the bottom? The facts do not change.
       
      Sadly Woody, it is you that appraisers have a hard time taking seriously. You have drank so much of the AI Kool Aid, nobody believes anything you say anymore.. I actually feel sorry for you.

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      • Woody Fincham says:

        Big comments from behind your desk and your fake name .  Have the fortitude to own up to your comments. I don’t  disagree with your premise, but if you are moved to make comments have the respect for yourself to be known for it.  Come have a glass of kool-aid.

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        • J. West says:

          Woody, if you don’t disagree with the author’s premise then why are you attacking him?

          I’ve read a few of your articles in the past and never thought you’d be the kind of person who would attack a fellow appraiser solely because he uses a pen name instead of his real name.

          What a shame, I always thought of you as a stand up guy! SMH

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          • Woody Fincham says:

            I guess it seems like I am attacking when I do not feel that I am.  I write lots and get published all over, s another writer I find it disingenuous to not put your name on what you willing to go into the public and complain about.  I don’t get it.

            That is just me.  I don’t expect anyone to agree with me 100% of the time, and that I disagree with another, that is my prerogative.  I am not attacking anyone, nor hurling personal insults at anyone.

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            • Pen Name for Me! says:

              Woody, The author is not “complaining” as you claim. In my opinion, the author is helping appraisers by bringing something to their attention that they may not be aware of. Appraisers have been targeted since HVCC and most sat around waiting for organizations like the Appraisal Institute to step up. That never happened and still is not happening. What has AI done or is doing to help appraisers? That’s right, AI has been going to Legislators trying to dismantle our regulatory structure. Here is a news flash for you –  that is not an issue for appraisers and it just shows how out of touch AI really is.  AI is creating problems that simply do not exist!  Appraisers are banding together for unity to fight back. Coalitions are gaining strength and there is now a national network established. We must not only fight for a positive change to the profession, we must fight to undo the damage AI is doing.

              We all know you are an AI guy and this is not an attack on AI or you, but seriously you, like AI, are out of touch with real issues. The difference is appraisers are doing something about it.

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              • Woody Fincham says:

                To each their own.

                Your comments on what the AI is doing or not doing are patently false.  No organization does more, but there are limits to what any of us can, but we still have to try.  The lack of effectiveness we all have is a burden our profession carries, and is shared across all organizations.  The AI is not immune to the same issues we all face when trying to make change happen.  It is hard to make changes in a profession that is viewed as standing in the way of business. NAR, lenders and REEVA all stand in opposition to us on most things.  We are a small, yet vital profession to the economy, and unfortunately we are not given the consideration we should be given; in DC lobbying dollars matter more than common sense.  Right now the AI has the biggest budget for lobbying on behalf of the profession.  If you don’t like what they are doing then join and change it.  I don’t agree with everything that they do, but I make my voice heard and try to steer us in a direction that I believe is helpful. I don’t get my way a lot of the time, but at least I am involved.  I refuse to sit on the sidelines and just grumble and post on social media and blog comment sections.

                I, for one, think it’s useless to bash any organizations. I am not a member of the AGA, or NAIFA or many others, but I appreciate all that they are doing and trying to do. We are all better together than apart, but I also get that many here are going to AI bash no matter what.  I dedicate lots of time to the AI to try and advocate on behalf of my profession, but because I am pro-AI for some reason you and others feel a need to always bash the AI.  That’s fine, that’s your opinion.  I don’t really care, I know what I do, I know what the AI is doing and it’s helpful to the profession but we need all hands on deck. IT woudl be 200% better if you are a member of another organization to get your lobbyists to seek out Bill Garber’s office at the AI and let’s figure out how we can be effective together.  There will be things  that two or more organizations won’t align on, but we have to try at least.  Effectiveness has to get better together rather than thinking one team is the only solution.

                My original post is just a personal view I have on the need to be anonymous. It really has nothing to do with the AI or really anything other than how I view integrity.  I just feel that if you are going to speak up, then be known for it. That doesn’t mean anyone has less integrity or whatever you want to call it.  It is the author’s right to do whatever he or she wants to and perhaps my communication was harsher than it shoudl have been. I just commented on my perspective. My perspective is as valid as the author’s right to remain anonymous. I apologize to any that seem offended by my post, but it’s how I feel.  We all need to fight the good fight and work together rather than continue to be divisive.

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                • Mike says:

                  Woody, I think we all agree we want what is best for the industry. From my perspective, AI has not been very transparent on what they are lobbying for. Even your post seems to eludes that. This is why there is so much AI bashing. Please share with us what AI is doing with all those lobbying dollars you speak of. Are they fighting C&R fee abuses? AMC hiring staff appraisers? Broadcasting of orders? These are the issues I and many others perceive as the ones on the forefront. Without open transparent communication, how does AI expect appraisers to support their efforts? Please share what AI is lobbying for.

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                  • Woody Fincham says:

                    Mike,   We release updates all of the time.  We just did a 90 minute webinar on everything we have recently done and are doing.  Listen to it.

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            • Baggins - I just sold your data Baggins - I just sold your data says:

              What, you never heard the inspirational journalistic stories regarding the three tyler durdens at zero hedge?  It’s a modern era, you’re out there in the far left field if you actually want all your online discourse tied to your permanent name through official data broker logins.

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        • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

          Woody my name is Mike Ford. I live in Long Beach, California. My phone number is (714) 366 9404. My address is on my web site and is no secret. I am NOT a fake name nor do I ‘hide’ behind a desk-though it may look that way to anyone that sees the stuff stacked on it.

          Surely you know by now that appraisers that use their real names are subject to being blacklisted or worse. It depends on who they anger. John J. Posted facts. You posted sophistry.

          Who is more credible?

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          • Woody Fincham says:

            Mike

            Good for you.  I stand by my post.

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            • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

              Woody thank you for the phone call. Thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you and exchanging ideas. I’m sure most others on this site would too. Perhaps it is time to set aside our automatic anti AI inklings and all of us try to exchange ideas openly and honestly. When I cant set them aside, I’ll at least try to remember my belief that I think you personally strive for whats best for appraisers overall.

              We both recognize that not everything AI does is wrong…nor is it always right. I’ll let you AI folks work on that one.I hope to be able to work with you in areas of common interest in the future. When we oppose AI proposals we’ll be honest about it and where they seem to make sense I personally will keep a open mind.

              Your thoughts on a national license versus state licenses made sense from the perspective we discussed. Lenders and state regulators have thoroughly misconstrued USPAP…if they ever understood it to begin with.

              I’ve always been supportive of the TAF and ASC but I’m becoming increasingly concerned that their priorities have long ceased to be the American Public OR appraisal professionalism. Otherwise we wouldn’t still be discussing C&R fees; unrealistic turn times and undue pressure from lenders and or AMCs.

              .Again thanks for reaching out. I’ll keep your number and call anytime to share ideas or post here.

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    • Unwilling to disclose to prove a point says:

      Many authors write under fictitious names, and get paid big bucks for it. It’s keeping a level of privacy, not screaming untrustworthy.

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    • Matthew Folly says:

      Mr. Finchham It’s their own right to not share their actual name or not. Privacy is something many people don’t have nowadays, you have to go out of your way to  maintain a level of privacy.

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      • Baggins - I just sold your data Baggins - I just sold your data says:

        What appears to be separate data today will tomorrow be combined data in central searchable public and private data repositories, used by private and public sectors for everything from what ads you see on tv, to futuristic holographs which know you by your rfid signatures, to pursuing your EO insurer.  Yahoo sold to Myspace then to facebook then to google who worked with alibaba and bezos now mylife, whom marketed that back down to every startup in the world.  All major credit score institutions got in on this, and corelogic took a piece out of that pie as well.  The CFPB maintains more personal data with more access than the NSA.  Guess who’s the target?  Beware of dongles but more importantly be cautious with integrated data.  Or something like that, it’s a complex tale of evolving deception and monetization of what should be private information. The admin of this site has adequate tools to unmask chameleons if necessary and has done so in the past.

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  5. Ralph says:

    CoreLogic called me called me abut a staff position, I declined, but they told me they have BoFA and Wells Fargo as anchor clients and were targeting mid size banks after.  Well Fargo also called me about a staff position, but I never called them back.  Sounds like they want to develop their own panel and maybe give overflow to CoreLogic similar to what Landsafe used to do.

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Think about what you just posted. CoreLogic called you for a staff position. Claims they ‘have’ Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo called you for same reason-staff position. Yesterday Wells was claiming they are leaving AMCs completely and moving back to WF operated panels. Something doesn’t jibe there.

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      • Baggins - I just sold your data Baggins - I just sold your data says:

        Through quizzing a few of the larger lenders whom recently moved away from amc’s, some told me they’re doing it region by region, taking it slow.  Perhaps related?

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  6. Truth B Told says:

    I think most of the banks are moving towards what TSI – Quicken Loans has been doing, hiring staff appraisers and keeping a list of independents for overflow and fill-in for staff vacations. A key factor to their success is that they pay higher fees than most, in my region.

    Becoming a staff appraiser is a conflict within itself. I gave it a go for two months last year. I experienced more pressure and intimidation than I have ever before in my 31 year career. More pressure than what any Mortgage Broker ever gave me before Dodd Frank. It’s all about the money! Banks, AMC’s, Revaa, all are in business to make more profit while doing whatever they can to keep the Appraiser from making any. Part of their plan is to hire young, naive, newly licensed appraisers and indoctrinate them on “their” new norm. Sign contracts that exclude the employer from any appraisal liability, but do what you are told, including bringing in certain values. Once they get the Appraiser dependent on that paycheck every two weeks, they have several ways to pressure the staff Appraiser into getting what they want!

    Woody, I think you’ve lost touch with what is going on in the field. There is retribution going on against appraisers who say truthful things that the banks, AMC’s, Revaa, may not like. Appraisers who have to put food on the table and have no immediate, alternative income, are at “extreme risk”.

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Email me direct at mike@mfford.com and I’ll give you the contact information for the attorneys that won the BofA – Countrywide settlement. They are looking specifically for companies that claim to hire people as staff appraisers and then fail to compensate them for time required to do all they demand. They dont let them hide behind IC agreements either. If they set the hours or location of a number of other factors including demanding a volume of work per day or week that normally requires much more time they are interested. They are working class actions for these types of cases.

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  7. pj says:

    I worked for RELS Valuation for a few years, which at the time was a partly owned subsidiary of WF (from what I was told). We were expected to do at least 30 reports a month and bring in a certain dollar amount. I was treated fairly well and they had excellent benefits. I received excellent training but decided it was best to be independent and remove one or more additional layers of supervision.

    The hours were crazy and they had something called the PMD- The potentially materially deficient appraisal. This was typically used if you did not make value on a purchase and was part of a policy that if you did not adequately explain how you arrived at your value through the multiple review and submission process, then they were required to turn you into your state agency for a materially deficient appraisal.

    Also, you were required to be on call during your vacation for revision requests as they used a regulation that required a timely response to implement this policy.

    The automated report submission process was heavy handed, laborious, and time consuming.

    I am much happier now as an independent.

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  8. Truth B Told says:

    During the two months I worked as a staff appraiser they had a weekly quota as well. If you didn’t meet the quota your pay was deducted. If you bought in a value that they thought was too low, and you didn’t change it upon their request, they would inundate you with sales data that was not compatible and ask you to write responses on all the “fake comps”. This would get you behind in trying to fulfill your weekly quota and ultimately reduce your pay. The appraiser supervisor had less than 10 years experience and had never worked independently. He told me stories of how many days and hours he normally worked when he was in the field (7 days, 10-18 hours a day). He fell asleep one day while driving and had a very bad accident.

    These new AMC / staff appraiser positions are trying to establish a business structure that fits all of their needs and supports none of ours. Independent appraisers have known for years what man hours, resources and expenses it takes to produce a good quality report within a specified time. Banks/AMC’s refuse to accept what we already know because the system that works, doesn’t allow banks to further reduce their costs.

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Truth -the conditions you describe have existed since the time of S&Ls where a lot of people got their earliest training…or rather superficial training. You learn far more in six months in a fee shop that one could in 3 years an S&L; or in a Wells Fargo/Rels/CoreLogic environment.

      The conditions you describe are flat violations of law. Gee what a surprise! A bank violating law! Im sure it must be an isolated case, right? (see article).

      Such companies violate federal and state labor laws by mis classification; they violate Treasury and IRS regulations at the same time by doing so.

      Most importantly to us-they so routinely violate FIRREA and USPAP. I urge all my fellow appraisers to cease doing work for criminals.

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  9. Baggins - I just sold your data Baggins - I just sold your data says:

    Write a letter to FTC general complaint against corelogic?  Well, I’ll be happy to sign a group petition or something.

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  10. John J Appraiser says:

    CoreLogic just bought Clareity Security Solutions.. Please click the links above and file a complaint. This has got to stop!

     

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  11. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Staff appraisers?  Egad!  Looks like the AMC appraisers will now swarm to the banks to increase their earnings by 50%.  Thanks but I’ll take a nail through my forehead first.

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  12. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    Lol! I can just see Baggins kid “Audit the Fed…bring back Glass-Stegall; C&R for everybody!” Teach him “IVSC is a fraud!”. Thumbs up friend.

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  13. John J Appraiser says:

    Wells Fargo just got nailed again! This time for adding an optional home warranty to the mortgage without permission… How are these people still in business?

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      A more important question is “How do their regulators still have jobs in civil service, ostensibly protecting taxpayers; consumers and the investors foolish enough to still trust the fine folks at Wells Fargo?

      The question is not rhetorical. I know some federal regulators read this blog. Isn’t it way past time to have done something to the  executives that keep repeating the (alleged) crimes?

      Fining them only encourages continued bad behavior. I mean, whats the downside? They violate the law and common decency and IF they get caught their investors that have near zero control take the hit?

      Start putting these people in jail or SHUT THEM DOWN! Better yet, do BOTH!

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      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Fines based on income is necessary to incentivize prosecution. As it stands now these giants easily bury opposition in paperwork and cost draining battles. AG’s know better because one try at this whale will certainly break the bank. Fines based on income is an essential reconciliation between outdated fine tables and modern operational processes. This would incentivize the free market, and the ag’s could follow up quite easily after that. But to answer the previous posters question, people keep banking there, that’s why the company persists. They also seem to have a hard time letting consumers actually cancel those accounts, I remember shutting down my wells account required many repeat letters with identical requests, then another round at a later time to get it off the credit report. Easy to engage, tough to get away.

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  14. The gift that just keeps on giving!

    It is way past time to file criminal charges…not merely seek meaningless punitive fines. We all know the feds are feckless in terms of meaningful actions, but what about a Grand Jury? ANY state affected can start the ball rolling.

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What’s In a Relationship?

by AppraisersBlogs time to read: 3 min
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