An AMC Takeover is Coming!
AMCs completing appraisal reports in direct competition with the independent appraiser
As an appraiser, you have probably seen or heard that AMCs are hiring staff appraisers to complete appraisal assignments in local markets. What does this mean for independent fee appraisers? Here is some background information to consider.
54.1-2020 of the Code of Virginia states:
An Appraisal Management Company is “a person or entity that (i) administers a network of independent contract appraisers, receives requests for appraisals from clients, and receives a fee paid by the client for the appraisals and (ii) enters into an agreement with one or more independent appraisers in its network to perform the appraisals contained in the request.”
54.1-2021.1(j) of the Code of Virginia states:
“That the entity (AMC) maintains a detailed record of the following: (i) each request for an appraisal service that the appraisal management company receives; (ii) the name of each independent appraiser that performs the appraisal; (iii) the physical address or legal identification of the subject property; (iv) the name of the appraisal management company’s client for the appraisal; (v) the amount paid to the appraiser; and (vi) the amount paid to the appraisal management company; and”
54.1-2022 of the Code of Virginia states:
- (A) “An appraisal management company shall not enter into any contracts or agreements with an independent appraiser for the performance of real estate appraisal services unless the independent appraiser is licensed to provide that service under § 54.1-2017 and as otherwise provided in Chapter 20.1 (§ 54.1-2009 et seq.).
- (D) 2 “Altering, modifying, or otherwise changing a completed appraisal report submitted by an independent appraiser without the appraiser’s written knowledge and consent;”
It is clear Virginia Statute states AMCs contract with independent appraiser, not complete the appraisals.
Keep Reading, it gets even more interesting………
From the Final Rule:
“Appraisal management company (AMC) means a person that:
- (i) Provides appraisal management services to creditors or to secondary mortgage market participants, including affiliates;
- (ii) Provides such services in connection with valuing a consumer’s principal dwelling as security for a consumer credit transaction or incorporating such transactions into securitizations; and
- (iii) Within a given year, oversees an appraiser panel of more than 15 State-certified or State-licensed appraisers in a State or 25 or more State-certified or State-licensed appraisers in two or more States, as described in § 1222.22;
- (2) An AMC does not include a department or division of an entity that provides appraisal management services only to that entity.”
“Appraisal management services means one or more of the following:
- (1) Recruiting, selecting, and retaining appraisers;
- (2) Contracting with State-certified or State-licensed appraisers to perform appraisal assignments;
- (3) Managing the process of having an appraisal performed, including providing administrative services such as receiving appraisal orders and appraisal reports, submitting completed appraisal reports to creditors and secondary market participants, collecting fees from creditors and secondary market participants for services provided, and paying appraisers for services performed; and
- (4) Reviewing and verifying the work of appraisers.
Appraiser panel means a network or panel of licensed or certified appraisers who are independent contractors to the AMC.”
On July 2, 2013, the National Association of Realtors issued a Q & A on Appraisal Management Companies. Here is what they said:
“What is an AMC’s role in the appraisal process?
The AMC performs the administrative functions involved in the ordering, completion and delivery of an appraisal report. Each AMC establishes processes to complete and/or enhance these functions based on the AMC’s business model and corresponding Federal and State regulatory requirements. Appraisal management companies do not perform appraisals.”
The intent of our Federal and State Regulators is clear; the AMC does not complete the appraisal. The National Association of Realtors states the AMC performs an administrative function and does not complete the appraisal.
Each and every appraiser needs to stand up on April 26, 2016 at the Virginia Real Estate Appraisal Board Meeting and express your concerns on AMCs completing appraisal reports in direct competition with independent fee appraisers.
- Express your concerns this practice was not the intent of Federal or State Legislators
- Explain how the public is harmed with this practice
- Provide documentation of AMCs advertising for staff appraisers
- Ask the VREAB to address this issue at the meeting.
If you are unable to attend the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board Meeting on April 26th, please express your concerns to them via email, US Postal Service, Fax, Telegram, carrier pigeon or any other means you have. Please also express your concerns to the CFPB, OCC, FDIC and the ASC.
Please listen to Voice of Appraisal shows E98 Corporate Takeover!!! and E99 Corporate Versus Cottage. They discuss the same issue.
This is the future of the appraisal profession. Appraisers need to be leading the way!
- We the People… - April 9, 2023
- Federal Valuation Agency Impact on Appraisers & the Public - July 22, 2022
- Is Georgia Going Rogue? - June 13, 2022
Good then I won’t have an excuse for not quitting this business
Then they will just change the laws to allow them to have staff appraisers. It’s a rigged game.
Why doesn’t this surprise me.
i am sorry, but i have a very hard time seeing this happening.
1. an appraiser is suppose to know their market or turn down the assignment according to USCRAP. i dont have any AMC’s in my area. a staff appraiser outside my market, probably in another state, doing appraisals is in violation of USCRAP, are they not? sorry, but if i am not watching the news in a market, not reading the newspaper in a market or actively doing something in that market, i dont see myself as knowledgeable in that market.
2. a staff appraiser for an AMC would be an employee, would they not? clearly that employee would be paid an hourly wage. ok, what would that be? $15/hr? $20/hr? $25/hr?. considering all the nonsense and liability appraisers have and have to go through nowadays, there is NO WAY a licensed appraiser will ever work for an hourly wage like that. remind yourself of the last post in this story in case you forgot: http://appraisersblogs.com/appraisal-college-degree-requirement-misguided
remember a few years back when appraisers were allowed to come in from far outside our markets to do appraisals? remember how screwed up those appraisals were? i remember a lot of them. most were bad, very bad. now staff appraisers from out OF STATE are going to be doing appraisals?!
god help us all.
the nonsense continues . . . . .
Actually, though they are “employees” many are still on 1099 compensation. The vulnerability to the AMC that must be exploited is the fact that the required performance quotas to qualify for health benefits, paid vacation etc mean working more than 8 hours a day to achieve. THAT is where these companies leave themselves open to the class action lawsuits from the same guys that we contacted…the ones that beat BofA and Landmark.
The ones that have specifically asked for leads to EMPLOYEE appraisers and that have already identified companies such as MetroWest and Solidifi to be companies of interest to them.
WHO OWNS MOST AMC’S NOWADAYS? BANKS. the same bank that is doing the loan usually. nobody sees this as a severe conflict of interest? i thought wearing two hats in the same transaction was a big no-no? a bank who is lending money on property “x” is also going to do the appraisal on property “x”?
banks had staff appraisers decades ago and were dissolved because of the perceived conflict of interest. so now we are going BACK to bank-employed staff appraisers? doesnt make sense.
like i said above, if it is allowed to happen, god help us all.
the nonsense continues . . . . .
Actually title companies probably own or control the majority of them. They are far worse than banks btw when it comes to willingness to circumvent someone elses regulations.
If that happens you can get rid of all the appraisal boards, they won’t be needed.
It is my understanding, that has already happened in several states. / I like where the author of this article is headed, but let’s be honest, the staff game has been ongoing. Cherry pick only the easiest orders, farm out the rest. How can they meet the requirements for AIR? If an amc were to hire appraisers, it should be in the position of order assignment clerks or managers, because that section of amc management is sorely under informed and inexperienced pertaining to the tasks at hand. I’ve never before seen such a large group of ‘managers’, whom are apparently incapable of making management decisions themselves. Thereby rendering them as mere process clerks, regardless of what management title they may assign themselves. One good sign you’ve got a good client on your hands, is that the manager has authority to manage, and does not have to ask permission.
And the sky continues to fall. Gloom and doom sell u suppose. Sheesh
Gloom and doom sells, and the drama in this industry is more real and more sustainable than Jerry Springer.
This just in from the Rock himself;
“When the struggle is all you know, fighting becomes natural, and quitting becomes impossible.”
I disagree with the authors position on anti trust and such. I can shout all day long about what I charge, and share my negotiation position with others. However, that does not mean that I have compelled others to make similar Business Decisions. If you’re talking anti trust, you must include junk fees, unearned fees, and the ethical violation of the appraiser management rule regarding providing a thing of value to be the preferred selectee. Defining the meaning of C&R involves specific identification of the difference between the appraiser and the management fees. If cost savings from reduced costs of appraisal services are not returned to the borrowing consumer, the surplus is a junk fee or unearned fee. If the brokers cannot levy variable fees and keep the difference, neither should amc’s be able to. Disagree, I’m only in charge of myself and such information merely relays my personal business position, not that of other appraisers. The junk fee approach is indefensible, which is why it’s conveniently over looked. A simple industry wide audit of all distribution companies which focuses on FHA unearned fee rule and lending junk fee rules, is all it takes.
Rick, spoken like a true AMC employee! Well done!
You say that like I’m a traitor to the profession. Again, sheesh. Get off your gloom and doom high horse. I made a good living for many years as a staff appraiser (starting in 1996) and never once got pressured to make a value. Not one time!! Before 1996 I was an independent fee appraiser for 10 years and was pressured and threatened constantly by many clients. I tried to make a living working for the few who didn’t do that but finally left for greener pastures – a staff job!
Hey Rick, where exactly IS that staff job? Working for ACI designing the phony PACE PRO product? No one said you are or were a traitor. What I WOULD say is I don’t believe you. That would be another word completely.
Twenty years as a staff appraiser and never once pressured to hit a value? Maybe you are one of those appraisers that doesn’t require being pressured to do what it takes to preserve your twenty year staff job. The typical staff appraisers life expectancy in a position is from three to five years. Is an exception possible? Sure. Just not very likely.
Man, you are one cynical dude! You are free to not believe me, though I have no reason to lie to you. Look, working for WAMU then LandSafe had it’s downside – they worked us to death to make production goals then both laid me off after 10 years at WAMU then 7 at BofA. It wasn’t a bed of roses but all in all it was a great career that paid well and I slept at night knowing I was not a prostitute to the loan dept. Not ever. You may find that hard to believe but I’m just telling you like it is. And the honorable men and women who were my fellow staff production appraisers had the same experience. Sorry your appraisal experience has jaded you so much, but you obviously haven’t seen or experienced my world and I just wanted to let everyone who reads this know that, actually, no, the sky is not falling.
Rick, up until a few years after ’01; probably around 03+- WAMU HAD a respected residential income property appraisal department. But after that I can tell you first hand that their SFR and 2-4 units processing department were as bad as anyone about pressing appraisers to overlook property deficiencies. My favorite was a two on a lot (duplex) on three acres in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles. They held a just under one million dollar first TD.
They submitted it to us for a refinance appraisal. While there were MANY reasons it should have been ineligible for financing (no heat for one) the most significant one was that it had been partitioned through the courts and neither the lot size not GBA was as WAMU believed, and indeed insisted. For over a month I had them try to tell me I must change MY report to match the title companies erroneous prelim. They even threatened to cut off the firm I was working for if I didn’t change MY report. Fortunately the owner of the company was willing to tell them to go to hell.
B of A? Depends on whether you worked there pre-LandSafe or after. If it was after, and your experience was LandSafe based don’t try to tell me or anyone else that ever worked for L/S there was no pressure. We simply know better. I even took THAT issue up with the VP in charge of B of A corporate security (then out of Texas) and he personally assured me that the Western Regional Coordinator had some very specific retraining on what she could or could not do to ‘remedy’ perceived appraisal issues related to values; or insisting review appraisers provide alternative values even when we indicated there was insufficient credible information in a report to do so.
IF it was B of A (corporate) prior to L/S, I would concede they had a professional appraisal department that WAS properly insulated from loan production. My own original mentors were respectively a retired Regional Chief Appraiser and HIS number one (SRPA). Both adhered to high standards.
You said yourself you were expected to hit high quotas and work long hours with no overtime. hardly optimal conditions. Rick there is no question some appraisers had decent careers. No one ever claimed otherwise. What we ARE saying is that since HVCC there has been a distinct, negative downturn in ALL aspects of R.E. Appraisal and that those denying it exists ARE a big part of the problem. Doom & gloom? How about a drop from $100k a year down to about $25k virtually overnight when HVCC hit? Like many others, I’ve revamped my business model and rebuilt it from the ground up. I don’t mind that. Its part of business. What I DO mind is that at every turn NON appraisers are intruding into MY profession and either directly stealing work through unfair business practices that routinely use unacceptable short cuts, OR that are now trying to circumvent ALL standards that you and I have to follow as appraisers!
Doubt me? Look up First American’s (ACI) $75 PACE PRO product and read the form carefully. This product is DESIGNED TO MISLEAD! Then look at how many segments of the loan process they control. Including their buy out of the software company itself (ACI)!
Look at the instructions from the VREAB Board Member that is NOT an appraiser, to HIS constituents to simply IGNORE that states new C&R fee. HE ought to be thrown off the board. He does not have to agree with a law, but he DOES have to work to see that it is enforced – not help to circumvent it!
THEN tell me “Sheesh” again; or snidely infer those of us complaining are all about “doom and gloom.”
Rick, my former trainer was and still is a staff appraiser with BOA / Landsafe and now Corelogic. In having first hand knowledge of the inner workings, I say BS to you not having any pressure as a staff appraiser. My trainer and 364 other BOA staff appraisers just settled a class action lawsuit to the tune of 36 million for being pressured to work long hours with no overtime, breaks, etc. My trainer would give you $130,000 reasons as to the level of pressure. Don’t even get me started on clearing appraisals with your supervisor when the opinion of market value is less than the purchase contract. Give me a break.
Bill, you are mixing two separate issues, working long hours and being pressured for values. I already stated we worked long hours – that was the downside – but we got paid well for those long hours. I was part of that lawsuit and it had nothing to do with pressure for values. It was about being classified as “exempt” employees. So when you say “My trainer would give you $130,000 reasons as to the level of pressure” you are either ignorant of the facts or choose to muddy the issue.
I recognize things could be better in this profession but more importantly this kind of irresponsible talk hinders our cause as appraisers! When people like Phil Crawford go online and state we were/are pressured for values as staff appraisers (especially at Countrywide Oooh, Ahh, GASP!), I felt the need to send him an email explaining my experience contradicting that claim and he laughingly dismissed it on his podcast, like he knows better! I lived that life. I WAS NEVER PRESSURED! NOT ONE TIME! If you have a different FIRST HAND experience then share it! But don’t act like it cant be true ergo, THE SKY IS FALLING! At BofA we had FIRST CLASS reviewers who would go over an appraisal, somtimes with me if it was below sale price but only to make sure we had all our bases covered and could defend it, never to pressure me to change it. The reviewers I worked with are the best in the business IMHO and would quit before they would prostitute themselves to BofA or anyone else! Again, my experience. Maybe there are some who are not like that but not the ones I dealt with.
Just bring back some honesty and perspective to this discussion otherwise you have no credibility and that helps nothing.
Rick on reading your response to Bill, I was inclined to be more open minded and agree with respect to assuring the discussion is kept honest. That inclination is tempered by the old FDIC finding that fully 97% of the quarter million defaulted loan appraisals they reviewed, performed by Countrywide/LandSafe were not USPAP compliant and that 90% were egregiously deficient.
That’s a record of abject failure by anyone’s standards. Was it because of bad appraisers and reviewers not doing their jobs, or was it a result of pressure to meet unrealistic goals, interfering with work quality? Just asking. Fairly or not, it taints ALL former Countrywide appraisers.
In the interest of keeping it a fully honest discourse.
You make a good point Mike.
I should explain: I was laid off by WAMU in 2006 and two weeks later hired by LandSafe. It was a transition time for both organizations. WAMU had essentially been taken over by a Wall Street GURU (as an advisor to CEO Kerry Killinger) who demanded this old fashioned S&L, in business since 1889, get with the times and start emulating Countrywide and that idiot Angelo Mozillo (liar loans, 100%+ LTV’s etc). After this I had heard rumors from NY State that WAMU was starting to pressure their appraisers as part of Wall Street “update” but had never experienced it first hand. Not long after this WAMU stock became worthless (along with a big chunk of my retirement savings, but that’s a story for another day) and WAMU was handed over to Chase all gift wrapped by Wall Street & Washington. Praise be to the too big to fail doctrine. So ridiculous but I digress.
About the time LandSafe hired me, Mozillo was being forced out and they were in process of being taken over by BoA so I never worked under the Mozillo hay-day. Its pretty common knowledge a bunch of crap was going on but I had no first hand experience with it. LandSafe under BofA was completely zeroed in on good quality accurate appraisals with no tolerance for value pressure. Though they allowed the use of distressed sales which essentially under-valued their portfolio and ended up paying a couple billion dollars in fines to the Feds for doing that, including about $50 Million to a LandSafe staff appraiser who was smart enough to become a whistle-blower and was feeding the feds info from the inside for about 4 years (plenty of news reports on this juicy story).
But again that never affected me. In fact we sat through many classes and conference calls (at least twice annually) drilling us about following appraiser independence. They all ended with an 800 number we were instructed to call if ANYONE tried to pressure us for values.
I am now on staff with another lender AMC and we just finished a special 90 minute conference call about strict adherence to staff appraiser independence. These people are serious about this stuff and do not allow us to be influenced.
It’s possible I am an exception or maybe they knew I wouldn’t put up with value pressure or I was lucky to be in the right staff position at the right time, I don’t know. But with this experience, including the current one, I am amazed when someone says staff appraisers are puppets. It just is not the way it is.
In Response to Rick above: Understood Rick, I remember the WAMU transition from respected appraisal department to ‘worthless lender’. B of A was as much a victim of Countrywide as taxpayers were. I have no love for B of A but their appraisal policies have always been high and without compromise in my own personal experience as a former vendor appraiser.
I’d submit Rick, that overall, you ARE a notable exception though. I interviewed over the years at too many S&Ls; Mortgage Companies and even Banks to accept there is no inappropriate pressure-starting with the suggestion that 3 to 5 SFR appraisals a day were possible. As Chief Appraiser at a large title company in the early 1990’s I can tell you there was HUGE pressure not to kill deals. So much so that we were sold off as an asset and my own hired (non appraiser) marketing rep with the morals of a snake was hired as an outside ‘AMC’ to provide the products & values we declined to.
Lol! “Service second to none” my ass!
Rick, as someone who listened in on dozens of those weekly conference calls that Landsafe conducted, I call BS to your claim that no pressure was applied. Were you encouraged to refer to the data on file from BOA as it relates to determining property value trends, or were you freely without consequences able to use your own data? Call it no pressure, but why was it a requirement in cases where market value was not equal to the purchase price that the appraisal was vetted by the district manager. And lastly, why would you consider a top tier of a 50% split as good pay for an appraiser?
While I share many of the concerns, there is NOTHING in the laws that preclude an AMC from also being an appraisal company. With all the statutes being cited, why is there no cite of the statutes addressing the requirements to be an appraisal company? Its like citing the requirements for being a bank and then saying they cannot perform notary services because the banking laws don’t authorize them to do so. Its a sophist argument for an over simplification of the issues that Virginia appraisers are actually facing under the C&R umbrella.
I urge all other appraisers to support the VaCap in their efforts, but that includes making sure the arguments used are valid. I’ve sent a lengthy email to VaCAPs secretary concerning this. T hey may or may not agree. There are MANY major issues facing Va Appraisers which DO need to be resolved; and local Virginia appraisers are urged to join with them to find solutions.
After a BBA in Real Estate, broker’s license and SRA designation and 33 years as an appraiser – I can honestly say – “I don’t know what the business model is out there” – signed “Getting out as fast as I can”
Perhaps one of the truly saddest commentaries on what our profession has become.
With qualifications as strong as any that are likely to be found, to look objectively and have to say that just proves that sensible business practices have been thrown out the window in favor of amoral opportunism.
Forsyth has been bought out; LRES just purchased some ‘hybrid product’ provider MC licenses can apparently do something that the company being bought out would not be allowed to do on their own, and Metro West continues to replace independent professionals with indentured servants.
First American (you have to add your own third word descriptor to their name since they have adopted so many, LLc, AMC, PACE PRO, Escrow, title, ACI Appraisal Software – Eee EYE Eee EYE OH!) the super conglomerate advertising top quality and compliant products that is too incompetent to even produce an advertised flagship product (Pace Pro).
Yet the Feds and regulators continue to allow consumers and taxpayers to be scammed by these deceptive practitioners. To his credit, at least ONE Fed has spoken out against Pace Pro.
Jman, it is a shame that we will be losing you, and other skilled professionals like you.
I am hearing rumors that the Appraisal Institute is contemplating a new designation for small appraisal businesses:
CAMCPC ~ Certified AMC Profit Center
You simply need to be a certified appraiser to apply for the new designation. No special education or time in country required. AMCs have requested the new designation for some reason.
CAMCPC ~ Certified AMC Profit Center / Good one Snickets. It’s not a coincidence they never revisited the management rule. Providing a thing of value is unethical in this business of non biased non advocacy positioning for appraisers. But as they say; There is a war on for your mind. In this chapter, they seek to eliminate the value of ethics. Anyone who trades ethics for cash, has also traded away their integrity at the same time. There is no way out of that rat race, except to charge amc’s more than direct distributors, so that is what I have done. A direct consequence of the CFPB’s failure to properly separate and force disclosure of the distinctly different fees between the amc or distributor, and the appraiser. If the junk fee rule is no longer applicable, which it apparently is, that equates to cash in a hurry for the unethical participators out there. We will remain mystified why individual amc workers do not have to have licensing themselves, and be held to at least basic ethical standards like the rest of us. This industry has grown large enough by now, there should be a central ethics committee, whom is empowered to yank licenses left and right. They have a lot of work to do.
Going to have to agree with Rick – as a staff appraiser for 25 of my 33 years in the biz. The only pressure I have had was as an independent appraiser. Never once was my staff job threatened for value or property issues. , but bust one deal as an independent and the mortgage staff start looking for the “good” appraisers that always make those deals. Its not the staff position causing the problem, its the people behind the mortgage company that make all the difference.
This just reinforces what we all should already know…
If you as an appraiser continue to stay in your own little isolated world, you are giving our profession away to those who couldn’t care less about “protecting the public trust.”
To paraphrase a well known quote;
First they came for the “low quality” appraisers, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a “low quality” appraiser.
Next they came for the “cheaper/faster” appraisers, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a “cheaper/faster” appraiser.
Then they came for the “corner cutting” appraisers, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a “corner cutting” appraiser.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Join your state appraiser organization today! Don’t have one? START ONE!
My state association, NCREAA, only began in 2012 and we have made major changes in our state as well as partnering with the Network of State Appraiser Organizations / NSAO to affect change nationwide. There are currently 23 states in the network!
All is NOT lost guys…it’s OUR job to TAKE BACK OUR PROFESSION!
Ladt T is right! The first step is getting involved and to find out what your specific state issues are.
Once that is done, you may want to join an effective NATIONAL clout organization that CAN get something done on a national level.
Sadly, there are few state organizations that are effective any longer. VaCap is; NCREAA is, Louisiana is and California CaCAP is. Many other states are either struggling with internal leadership issues; have fragmented, or are so heavily influenced by specific appraisal professional organizations that are often PART of the problem rather than part of the solution. There are probably a few more out there, but I can’t name one right now.
IF they all came together as an effective organization they could really be a force to be reckoned with.
When it takes them over a month just to get the verbiage of a letter to regulators approved though, I have my doubts.
THAT is where the special interests impact really become apparent making sure THEIR members favorite Ox don’t get gored.
I invite any interested in effective pursuits to contact any of the above state coalitions, and / or the American Guild of Appraisers. (AGA) (310) 220-4100.
We are successfully fighting for and defending appraisers right now. Not just words, but actual successes in helping appraisers fight state regulatory abuses. We COULD use a few more qualified member – volunteers though. There is more work than there are people able to complete it.
Would love to know how many appraisers are taking these $200-250 full appraisal jobs from Clear Capital for JP Morgan Chase, shades of ES all over again except the fees are half of what ES was paying. I think they used to call this “coolie wages” in the old days. I had 20 hit my email over the last 8 days.
Diana, IF you redact YOUR info from the emails but leave enough to prove its clearly a Chase or AMC driven solicitation for below C&R fees (take DAY date off, but leave month and year if possible) AND post those here we can start get something done about it!
If you prefer, forward to me and I’ll redact your personal identification info from them and start sending them to the FEDs and posting them and flat out try to humiliate Chase into doing the right thing.
They get away with it because they don’t have anyone holding their feet to the fire. I AM willing to do that but we need the proof as evidenced in the actual emails.
Ok Mike, I just got 5 more between yesterday and today.
Only you can stop forest fires. It’s up to you, and you alone.