American Guild of Appraisers Files Request RE C&R Fees
American Guild of Appraisers Files Request with Federal Reserve Board Seeking Documents Related to Regulations on Customary and Reasonable Compensation of Fee Appraisers
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
On behalf of the American Guild of Appraisers, today the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer filed a request with the Federal Reserve Board under the Freedom of Information Act seeking a wide variety of documents related to the regulations on customary and reasonable compensation of fee appraisers that were issued by the Board in October 2011.
In announcing this action, Guild President Peter Vidi said,
“It is clear that appraisal management companies have interpreted rules issued by the Fed as permitting practices that result in real estate appraisers being compensated at levels that are far below ‘reasonable and customary fees’ as required in the Dodd Frank Law. We want to learn whether the Fed intended this result and if so why.”
“we hope that these documents will shed light on why the Board chose to create two conflicting ‘safe harbors’ for compliance with these regulations, one of which permits Appraisal Management Companies to rely upon the considerably lower rates that they themselves pay appraisers in determining what compensation is considered ‘customary and reasonable’ in direct violation of the Dodd Frank law. To this end, we have asked for all internal and external correspondence related to their development of these regulations, as well as documents such as meeting records, studies, reports and other information considered by the Board in the development of the regulations.”
The formal request under the Freedom of Information Act seeks all documents that chronicle any consideration given by the Board, after having issued the regulations, to the public comments submitted to them, many of which pointed out the problems created by the safe harbor provisions, as well as to any follow-up actions that might be taken to correct these problems. “We are hopeful that these documents will allow us to better understand the seriousness with which these issues have been considered and the potential for future corrective action,” Vidi noted.
The Guild previously announced that it had retained a law firm to explore all avenues including possible litigation to correct a regulation that is in violation of the Dodd Frank law. The FOIA request is a next step in determining the best means to get the problem resolved.
This reduction in fees to appraisers of up to 50 percent and amounting to more than $100 million according to industry experts, does not result in any savings for homebuyers because the appraisal management firms have not reduced fees charged to lenders and passed on to borrowers. Instead, according to Vidi, the quality and reliability of appraisals is being degraded and many competent appraisers are leaving the profession. “The appraisal fee provisions in Dodd Frank were intended to ensure the independence of appraisers and the integrity of the appraisal process. Simply put, this is not what is happening,” Vidi said.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN GUILD OF APPRAISERS/OPEIU GUILD 44
The American Guild of Appraisers/OPEIU Guild 44 seeks to represent the interests of appraisers, developing a strong presence before the U.S. Congress and each of the state legislatures. By working closely and exchanging dialog with other like-minded organizations, the AGA works to educate consumers about the appraisers’ non bias, independent role in the value process, while ensuring the accountability of both the appraisal profession and the financial institutions with which the appraiser provides services.
The Office and Professional Employees International Union represents more than 110,000 members (representing 125,000 employees) in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. OPEIU represents employees and independent contractors in banking and credit unions, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more.
Professional organizations and Guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes physicians, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, hypnotists, teachers and helicopter pilots.