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ASA and NAIFA Release White Paper Addressing an Immediate Existential Threat To The Current National Appraiser Regulatory System

by Jennifer Aguilar | Jun 13, 2016

The American Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers have released a detailed White Paper addressing an immediate existential threat to the current national appraiser regulatory system. This looming threat would completely undo over a quarter century of effective appraiser oversight, and override long standing Congressional intent in the area of appraiser regulation through regulatory fiat.

This threat – a proposed redefinition of a key term in Title XI of FIRREA, being pushed by some at the federal bank regulatory agencies – would exempt over 90 percent of appraisals performed in connection with residential mortgage transactions from all of Title XI’s requirements including, most critically, those related to enforcement In cases where an appraiser failed to competently perform the assignment or otherwise violated the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) or appraiser independence requirements. This would strip away key consumer protections from all but a handful of mortgage lending transactions, leaving home buyers no recourse when they believe an appraiser has run afoul of their professional responsibilities.

The White Paper goes in depth on the risk this threat poses, and goes on to address the reasons why this proposed redefinition is inappropriate based on both the legislative and regulatory history surrounding Title XI of FIRREA and the various laws, regulations, and guidelines that have followed since the current system was put into law in 1989. In short, there is no reasonable argument that supports the proposed redefinition. Instead, the White Paper demonstrates that Congress has worked to strengthen the existing regulatory structure, while simultaneously recognizing when individual federal agencies go above and beyond Title XI’s requirements in their own appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications.

ASA and NAIFA believe that in order to preserve the system that has worked effectively for over 25 years, it is essential to bring this threat to light so that other stakeholders can discuss the issue and raise their own concerns with Congress and the federal bank regulatory agencies. ASA and NAIFA will be sending the White Paper and accompanying documents to Congress, federal agencies who rely on Title XI’s protections, and to the banking agencies themselves. To read the full White Paper, click here. To read a covering letter signed by ASA and NAIFA, click here. To read a one page synopsis, click here. Finally, if your organization would like to endorse the White Paper by becoming signatory, please contact John D. Russell, JD, Director of Government Relations for ASA, at jrussell@appraisers.org or 703-733-2103.