Is Bank of America looking to sell LandSafe?

In an industry hungry to buy, the answer is probably 'yes'

Bank of America (BAC) is in talks to sell its appraisal management company LandSafe within the next four to six weeks, according to industry sources.

And the market is hungry to buy it.

There are at least four to five bidders eyeing the appraisal business, sources say, including top names like Solutionstar, Fidelity and Solidifi.

LandSafe Closing Services companies are affiliated with Bank of America to provide closing services, including appraisal, credit report and verification.

In the wake of the financial meltdown, the government sought to reform the appraisal process with the adoption of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct and by introducing appraisal management companies to ensure “arms-length” transactions.

[Read more about the industry in the February 2015 HousingWire Magazine in-depth feature “Appraisal Disruption.”]

On LandSafe’s website, it emphasizes that the issue of appraiser independence is taken very seriously at the company.

“As a company, we are firmly committed to ensuring our operational environment enables you to make an independent judgment of value for every property you are assigned to appraise, absent undue influence,” the site said.

Both Solidifi and Solutionstar announced big moves in the industry this year.

In May, Solidifi acquired Cincinnati-based Southwest Financial Services, provider of outsourced services to home equity lenders.

Meanwhile, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) announced earlier this month that it is planning to re-launch its wholly owned subsidiary Solutionstar as a “premier real estate search and transaction platform.” In the next few weeks, Solutionstar will re-launch as Xome, featuring the portal, which is currently in beta testing.

Meanwhile, the industry continues to adapt to changes in the regulation of appraisal management companies.

AMCs provide appraisal management services to lenders, underwriters or other principles in the secondary mortgage markets, including contracting with licensed and certified appraisers to perform appraisal assignments.

Housing authorities announced new minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies at the end of April.

With the new rule, states may elect to register and supervise AMCs, but there is no penalty if a state chooses not to establish a regulatory structure for AMCs.  

Bank of America, Fidelity and Soldifi were unable to comment as this article went to press. Solutionstar referred enquires to parent Nationstar, who declined comment.

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