FTC & REVP vs LREAB Bombshell
Like many other appraisers I received a copy of paperwork filed in conjunction with the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board / FTC and Real Estate Valuation Partners (REVP) aka Valuation Partners. (Thank you VaCAP!)
To me it’s a bombshell, but before I go into the story of who did what to whom, and for how much let’s start off by asking all readers to click this link to see who the players are. Even if you read the article elsewhere please read the following link.
Got it? Great.
Just so we are clear, one of the Chief players appears to be MAI/SRA William Fall. The remainder of his websites rogue’s gallery is a cross section of more MAI’s and assorted sales folks and sundry other personnel. This is not an anti MAI article nor an anti AI article. I sincerely hope that won’t become a distracting side issue. I’m merely . I don’t think this is the image envisioned when the MAI designation was originally planned. Frankly I think the AI Ethics Board needs to look at the issue of sidestepping legally served subpoenas.
Note the compliance page promo on the website:
“CONFIDENT AND COMPLIANT
Valuation Partners brings confidence and peace of mind to a lender’s appraisal experience”
Valuation Partners helps clients stay compliant with all industry regulations, including AIR (appraiser independence) requirements and CFPB rules that hold companies accountable for their appraisal partners.”
This is where my antennae perked up, twitched twice and then slapped me across the face to see if I was paying attention. Compliant with all regulations???
Do they really see the job of an AMC (or appraiser) as being protection of lenders?
Mr. Fall, I am not employed in an industry. It is a profession. I would expect an MAI to understand the distinction unless perhaps in your own mind you feel you have degraded professionalism to a point where it really is no more than an assembly line of cookie cutter ‘appraisals’ prepared for substandard fees.
Though I think your view of ‘our’ profession may be a factor in the William Fall Group or Valuation Partners (REVP) having the reputation that it does, this isn’t the most serious issue in my opinion.
As you know or at least as you are supposed to know, federal regulators see no daylight between lenders and their agents.
Your own website purports to help clients stay compliant with all ‘industry’ regulations, or as I prefer to call them Federal & State Laws governing the actions of professional real estate appraisers in federally regulated transactions.
Your site specifically cites AIR (independence) and unspecified CFPB rules that for their appraisal partners (nicely parsed!)
Glaringly omitted is any reference to reasonable and customary fees as mandated under the Dodd Frank Act. I’m sure you folks have at least heard of it even if you cannot or will not demonstrate any attempt at compliance with it in Louisiana, or anywhere else you practice.
Frankly, your firms own actions along with those of many other schizophrenic appraisal/AMC firms and the inability or unwillingness of states to enforce C&R fees are what will ultimately become an increasing call to remove all FRT compliance regulations (including USPAP) from the state levels and move them over to the federal agencies. At least they have the clout and will to impose uniformity of enforcement.
If nothing else, it would prevent a rogue agency with legacy commissioner appointees from being used by special interests to subvert federal laws. Feds trump states, but Feds rarely trump other Feds.
But, lets get back to the LREAB, FTC and REVP.
Appraisers already know that the State of Louisiana was charged/sued by the FTC who essentially charged that trying to enforce Dodd Frank’s Reasonable & Customary Fee provisions was an antitrust violation, inherently evil, anti American, and amounted to restraint of trade by trying to force reasonable fees on the real monopolies and price fixing proponents. (OK, I may have paraphrased that last a bit, but y’all get the idea).
The question I ask is why the FTC rears up on it’s hind legs and barks about a monopoly only if a State or individual appraiser attempts to obtain what Dodd Frank already mandated; yet price fixing by banks and people like REVP is perceived as a divine right of some sort?
LREAB attorneys have made repeated requests via subpoena for critical documents. Specifically, the so-called studies and or surveys used as justification for violating Louisiana’s C&R fee laws.
Attorneys for REVP have promised the documents but never delivered them all. That’s a bit like AMCs that tell appraisers the money is in the mail… but it never arrives.
These empty promises are what REVP clients should give serious consideration to. This is how REVP/William Fall Groups ‘help clients stay compliant’?
Once LREAB wins their case, I hope that they and every appraiser that has been underpaid files formal complaints with CFPB, not against REVP but against the lenders that they were/are agents for.
To all the honorable MAI’s and SRA’s out there, I sincerely hope you will start holding AIs ethics panels feet to the fire.
It is your own MAI’s as often as not that are undermining the appraisal profession.
It’s not just the William Fall Groups. It’s also companies like PCV Murcor (residential side only) another MAI owned appraisal management company with an infamous record on the residential side.
Imagine, obtaining all that advanced appraisal training and then wasting it in residential appraisal.
Apparently there are two classes of MAIs that most of us did not know about: the traditional commercial & industrial, complex nonresidential appraisal professionals most of us used to respect and even occasionally be intimidated by; and then there are the laughingstocks that are too unsure of themselves to be able to earn a living doing what they were ostensibly trained for. Ones that think no one will challenge their non compliance with law because they are MAIs.
I still respect the Big Fish that swim in the deepest most challenging part of the appraisal oceans. As for Big Fish too afraid to venture out of the tide pools… not so much.
Hopefully all readers will start identifying the individual appraisal leadership of companies like REVP into the future.
AI – PLEASE start paying attention to your Members that seek to circumvent USPAP and / or Dodd Frank C&R fees. They are as much a law as licensing itself.