Fannie issues appraiser guidance ahead of looming HVCC replacement
Fannie Mae released appraiser independence guidance as the Federal Reserve continues work on a replacement for the Home Valuation Code of Conduct due in October. When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank bill into law in July, regulators had 90 days to write new rules replacing the HVCC. The Federal Housing Finance Agency implemented HVCC in May 2009 in an attempt to improve the independence of appraisers by prohibiting lenders and third parties from influencing appraisals. It’s a controversial regulation, leading to an increase in demand for appraisal management companies (AMCs) and complaints from independent appraisers who claim they’re being cut out of the market. While Dodd-Frank does impose stricter standards, anyone expecting radical changes from the HVCC could be disappointed. Fannie Mae issued guidance that maintains "the spirit and intent of the HVCC" ahead of the finalized replacement rules due by the Fed. Fannie has been working with the FHFA, Freddie Mac and other industry players on the development of the new rules for mortgage companies selling loans to the government-sponsored enterprises. "The revised requirements pose no significant changes to core principles of the HVCC and incorporate language to clarify questions that arose in the implementation of the HVCC," according to Fannie Mae. All conventional, single-family mortgage loans with application dates on or after May 1, 2009 must still be in compliance with HVCC until the release f the final rules by the Fed or until Nov. 1, 2010, whichever is sooner. Mortgage companies are already making adjustments. On Oct. 18, InHouse Inc., an appraisal software company, recruited Bank of Manhattan in California, Terrace Mortgage in Atlanta, and Wintrust Mortgage in Illinois to join a centralized platform to manage an appraisal workflow. According to InHouse, the stricter guidelines from Dodd-Frank are pushing more companies to new means of ordering appraisals. Violations of the previous HVCC and FHA rules would cost companies up to $20,000 in civil fines a day per person. A spokesperson for Fannie Mae could not confirm when the Fed would release its official HVCC replacement. The Fed did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Write to Jon Prior.