a la mode Chairman Biggers Says TAVMA “Should Know Better”

The chairman of appraisal technology firm a la mode remains stunned over accusations lobbed at his company by a trade group that represents appraisal management companies (AMCs) and questions the assertions being made. The Title/Appraisal Vendor Management Association (TAVMA) publicly criticized the data in a la mode’s Appraisal Fee Reference, claiming it doesn’t include the fees AMCs pay to appraisers, creating confusion in the industry. The reference is a collection of appraisal fee reports. In a prepared statement to HousingWire, Dave Biggers, chairman of the privately-owned a la mode, said his company was “dismayed and shocked,” adding TAVMA went too far in its accusations. “In the 25 years that a la mode has been serving the lending and real estate industries, I can’t recall a single incident in which a trade organization has singled out and attacked an individual company in this manner,” Biggers said. “They claimed that our company provided misleading information to the industry. They should know better.” Instead, Biggers said, TAVMA should have “simply said…they don’t agree,” or provided an alternative analysis and debated the issue in an objective manner. In addition, Biggers questioned TAVMA’s assertions of its AMC members’ role in the market. In its statement this week, TAVMA said AMCs are “the major provider of appraisal services in the country” and that independent appraisers are “a small sub-group of the industry.” But Biggers argued that position contradicts previous TAVMA statements, including a January 2009 position paper (download here), where TAVMA states that “AMCs are not appraisers, nor do they perform appraisals.” In its statement Monday, TAVMA compared a la mode’s dataset to hardware prices determined only by mom-and-pop hardware stores and ignoring giant retailers Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW), an assertion Biggers contested. “That implies that appraisers and AMCs are the same type of entities, simply differing in scale,” Biggers said. “If TAVMA’s AMC members are indeed simply large discount appraisal shops, as they appear to suggest repeatedly here, they would be subject to the very strict standards imposed by state appraisal boards.” “I’m confident that the various state regulatory boards will be intrigued by their latest public statements,” Biggers added. HousingWire requested to speak with Biggers, but a spokesperson for the company declined, citing that the issue is a “legal matter now.” The spokesperson declined to comment on whether a la mode was considering legal action against TAVMA. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.

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