HousingWire sat down with Mike Detwiler to discuss his decision to leave Accenture and invest in Class Valuation.
Q. What sparked your decision to invest in Class Valuation?
A. I’ve spent the past two decades in the mortgage industry and have seen firsthand how great technology can bring great results for all parties involved – especially the homebuyers we ultimately all serve. Just as we saw an opportunity to bring technology and automation to the (then) largely old-school process of loan origination back in 1999, I saw a similar opportunity for the home appraisal and valuation space.
During my due diligence, I knew almost immediately that Class had the right combination of team members, technology, and culture to lead the way towards this future. Since joining, my perspective has been validated, and I know I made the right decision.
I am proud to be at the helm of a dedicated team that is focused on jobs one, two, and three: customer service, customer service, and customer service. At the same time, we are developing innovation and modernization capabilities and technology, which will increase our delivery speed with ever-increasing quality.
Q. Where do you see the future of the valuation/appraisal space headed?
A. It has always been – and always will be – about the data. By collecting the right data in innovative ways, we can ensure accuracy, provide the right information to the right parties, and create a more accurate approach to the valuation process.
Q. How does technology play a role in this space?
A. Technology will be front and center in the appraisal and valuation space. With FHFA’s mandate to modernize the process and benefit the consumer, you can expect continued technology innovation and modernization from Class Valuation.
Q. What does modernization in this space mean to you?
A. We’ve seen it before. A company comes into the mortgage industry touting disruption and modernization. Typically, what ends up happening is everyone’s ears perk up, but after diving in deeper, it’s really just a concept. No thought has been put into aligning all the necessary parties to truly create that utopic future. Modernization, when done right, brings together all stakeholders to test, report, and refine before rolling out changes.
That’s why we live and breathe Thoughtful Change at Class. The concept – as it relates to the appraisal industry – requires coordination and buy-in from lenders, appraisers, service providers like Class, and the GSEs to bring about true modernization. We are already seeing how a unified front from all parties can result in truly sustainable change.
Q. What problems are you solving for with modernization and Thoughtful Change efforts?
A. We are solving for speed, technology, and ever-increasing quality. Ultimately, we want to improve the lending process for our clients, so they can help borrowers realize their homeownership dreams. We do not see any reason why we cannot achieve 24-hour turn times for all appraisal and valuation processes including inspection. Accelerating the process while providing even more accurate appraisals is the goal.
Q. Since your appointment as CEO, Class has made a number of big moves toward expansion. What does the future look like for Class?
A. This is just the beginning. Our team is hitting the pavement, educating our appraisers on modernization efforts, and partnering with industry stakeholders to test potential future tools and processes – all while looking for new investment opportunities and maintaining our core business and focus on jobs one, two, and three – customer service.
We’ve achieved a lot in just over a year. I’ve seen what the future looks like for the appraisal and valuation space, and it is bright. Now, it’s about making sure the lending community sees that future and finds the right partner that is capable of meeting their needs not just today, but in the future as well.