Filtered by category: Legislative Clear Filter

Banking Committee Leaders Seek Answers on Appraisal Waiver

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Sept. 24 submitted a letter to the Appraisal Subcommittee seeking answers about its July decision to grant a waiver of appraiser certification and licensing to the state of North Dakota. The letter expressed “surprise and concern” about the “unprecedented” waiver.

Waters chairs the House Financial Services Committee and Brown is ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

“It is so concerning that the ASC, the primary federal organization with oversight over appraisal and appraiser standards, has acted to waive appraiser certification requirements with minimal justification,” the letter stated, noting that appraisals are essential to safety and soundness and consumer protection. The letter explains that the move is unprecedented because the ASC has not granted any waivers since the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council first fully implemented appraisal rules. In granting this one, the ASC ignored the objections of the North Dakota Real Estate Commission.

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HUD Indefinitely Suspends Rule Change to FHA Down Payment Assistance Guidelines

By Jessica Guerin

The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a notice to lenders announcing the formal suspension of its rule change to down payment assistance guidelines.

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Court Grants Stay of Motion in FTC Case Against LREAB

A Louisiana court on July 29 granted a motion to stay in the Federal Trade Commission's case against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board in which it alleged the LREAB illegally determined a floor for appraiser prices. The court ruled that, among other things, continuing the case would hamper the state's ability to make and enforce policies.

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White House Plans September Release for Proposed Reforms to Fannie, Freddie

By Pete Schroeder and Richard Leong

The Trump administration’s hotly anticipated blueprint for overhauling mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may not be published until September as the U.S. Treasury juggles several other pressing issues, the housing regulator told Reuters.

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Federal Agencies Exempt Community Banks From Volcker Rule

Five federal financial regulatory agencies announced on Tuesday that they adopted a final rule to exclude community banks from the Volcker Rule, consistent with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.

The Volcker Rule generally restricts banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading and from owning, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with hedge funds or private equity funds. Under the final rule, which is unchanged from the proposal, community banks with $10 billion or less in total consolidated assets and total trading assets and liabilities of 5 percent or less of total consolidated assets are excluded from the Volcker Rule.

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Appraisal Institute Urges Congress to Address Valuation Issues

The president of the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, encouraged Congress to act on valuation topics during today’s hearing on Capitol Hill.

Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, told the House Financial Services Committee’s Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee that the Appraisal Institute supports passage of H.R. 2852, which would allow licensed appraisers to perform appraisals for Federal Housing Administration loans.

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FHFA Director to Congress: End Fannie, Freddie Conservatorship

By Austin Weinstein

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s chief regulator is calling on Congress to pass housing-finance reform legislation that sets a path to return the companies to private hands.

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Appraisal Institute Urges Congress to Address Valuation Issues

The president of the Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, encouraged Congress to act on valuation topics during yesterday’s hearing on Capitol Hill.

Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, told the House Financial Services Committee’s Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee that the Appraisal Institute supports passage of H.R. 2852, which would allow licensed appraisers to perform appraisals for Federal Housing Administration loans.

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PACE Financing, Mortgage Disclosure Act Among CFPB's Top Rulemaking Priorities for the Year

By Diane Thompson

The Bureau is publishing its Spring 2019 Agenda as part of the Spring 2019 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget. As an independent regulatory agency, the Bureau voluntarily participates in the Unified Agenda. The agenda lists the regulatory matters that the Bureau reasonably anticipates having under consideration during the period from May 1, 2019, to April 30, 2020, as described further below

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2nd Quarter 2019 Washington Report & State News

Appraisal Institute Among Organizations Opposing Residential Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute on Feb. 4 was one of six organizations signing a comment letter that "strongly opposed" a proposal from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to raise the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. 

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SBA Releases Updated Appraisal Policy, Adds Evaluations

The Small Business Administration issued revised guidance March 26 stating that an appraisal may be needed to evaluate the creditworthiness of commercial real estate loans below $500,000. New legislation that aligned SBA regulations with those from the federal bank regulatory agencies eliminated the appraisal requirement for commercial loans below the half-million-dollar threshold. 

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NC Appraisal Board Suspends CoesterVMS

On Monday, February 26, 2019, the North Carolina Appraisal Board voted to summarily suspend the registration of CoesterVMS. Coester has failed to respond to seven complaints filed against it and has failed to maintain a surety bond after its surety bond was cancelled. Effective March 1, 2019, Coester’s registration is suspended and they shall cease all activities which constitute appraisal management services in North Carolina. The suspension shall remain in effect until the Board issues a Final Decision in this matter or until the parties enter into a Consent Order that is a final determination in this matter.

AI Among Groups Opposing Federal Banking Agencies' Action

The Appraisal Institute on Feb. 4 was one of six organizations signing a comment letter that “strongly opposed” a proposal from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to raise the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. 
 
If the proposal is approved, nearly three quarters of residential real estate loans held in portfolio by depository institutions would be exempt from appraisal requirements. A high percentage of those loans are from rural areas.
 
The same proposal was evaluated and answered in 2017 as part of the process of the federally mandated Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act — a regulatory relief effort that encompassed four different notice and comment periods and six public hearings. At that time, the same agencies that are now proposing the increase said it “would not be appropriate” to increase the residential threshold considering safety and soundness and consumer protection concerns.
 
The “about face” is an apparent attempt by the agencies to pacify rural community banks that received discrete relief from Congress through EGRPRA. The valuation organizations that signed the comment letter have also requested a hearing on the proposal, but the agencies continue to deliberate on the issue.
 
In addition to the Appraisal Institute, the comment letter was signed by: 
  • American Guild of Appraisers, OPEIU, AFL-CIO;
  • American Society of Appraisers;
  • American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers;
  • MBREA | The Association for Valuation Professionals; and
  • RICS.
Read the comment letter.

FHFA Won't Defend Its Structure, Constitutionality in Court

By Kelsey Ramirez

The Federal Housing Finance Agency revealed it will no longer defend its own structure, calling itself unconstitutional.

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AI Opposes Residential Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers participated in bipartisan meetings with members of Congress Jan. 15, urging them to review a proposed increase to the residential appraisal threshold.
 
The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have proposed raising the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000.
 
The Appraisal Institute is asking appraisers to voice their opposition to the proposed increase. AI created an action alert where its professionals and others can weigh in on this important matter. The action alert provides talking points that appraisers can use in their letters, and AI encourages appraisers to share their own stories and experiences when speaking against the proposal. 
 
Use the AI action alert to make your voice heard.
 
If you have any questions regarding this issue, contact Bill Garber, AI’s director of government and external relations, at 202-298-6449 or by email at [email protected].

FEMA Brings Back Flood Insurance Policies During Lingering Government Shutdown

By Caroline Basile

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late Friday that it will resume selling and renewing flood insurance policies, rescinding its initial ruling that the National Flood Insurance Program cannot be renewed amid the ongoing government shutdown.

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AI Seeks Public Hearing on Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute and 15 other organizations submitted a letter Dec. 21 to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency requesting that they hold a public meeting as part of the process to determine whether to increase the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. 

Click here to read the letter.

AI Rejects Proposed Residential Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on Nov. 20 released a proposal to increase the threshold at which residential home loans require an appraisal to $400,000 from $250,000.
 
The rule would not apply to loans wholly or partially insured or guaranteed by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency or government-sponsored enterprise.
 
“The Appraisal Institute strongly objects to the FDIC’s proposal to raise residential appraisal thresholds,” said 2018 AI President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. “Congress just considered establishing a residential appraisal exemption and instead chose to enact a vastly different allowance involving appraisers in rural areas. This proposed rulemaking flies in the face of this action, and recreates the same type of environment that led to the housing crisis.
“By increasing the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000, FDIC would threaten the vital role that appraisers play in real estate transactions” said Murrett. “This action would undermine the crucial risk mitigation services that appraisers provide clients and users of appraisal services.
 
Murrett noted, “Raising the threshold means more evaluations will be allowed in place of appraisals. “The Appraisal Institute anticipates that will result in a return to the loan production-driven environment seen during the leadup to the financial crisis, where appraisal and risk management were thrust aside to make more – not better – loans. Apparently, the FDIC has learned nothing from that experience.
 
“Reducing regulations may seem to make sense initially, but the FDIC’s announcement raises significant safety and soundness concerns that the Appraisal Institute finds deeply disturbing,” Murrett said.

FHFA Sets Conforming Loan Limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2019.  In most of the U.S., the 2019 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $484,350, an increase from $453,100 in 2018. 

Baseline limit

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Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules on Applicability of Appraiser Bias

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Nov. 26 ruled that the prohibition on appraiser bias contained in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the Appraisal Institute’s Code of Ethics and Certification Standard, or the appearance of bias, applies only to individuals and not to an appraiser’s employer.
 
 
The Court’s ruling is consistent with the position advanced in the amici curiae brief submitted by the Appraisal Institute and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers. At stake was the ability of appraisers who perform services in Massachusetts to engage in the valuation of properties when the appraisers’ employers provide other services, such as brokerage, leasing and asset management.
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