MBA panelists: consistency is key to future of mortgage financing

At the Mortgage Bankers Association Quality Assurance and Residential Underwriting Conference, firms are bringing new and innovative ideas on how to improve upon quality assurance. But they can all agree one thing: consistency is key. Representatives from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac discussed new ways the GSEs plan to correlate and make their systems uniform. The newest thing they are trying to tackle is a standard set of definitions to accompany an appraisal. They are trying to answer the question – What is quality? In a survey of 272,000 appraisers, Fannie Mae found that 44% of them judged a property’s quality simply by looking at the exterior of the house. In a different survey of 1.4 million appraisers, 63.7% thought their property was of average quality. But Robert Murphy, senior business manager of credit policies and controls at Fannie Mae, showed a list of 23 possible and distinct definitions that fall in that category, including ‘average minus deficiencies’ and ‘average_no.’ “For example, if a house is beat up and every house in the neighborhood is beat up, I want to know that. Not that the property is average,” Murphy said. He said because appraisals are the most common and recognized way to value a property, baseline ratings must be consistent. Having an absolute definition to a rating, he said, would bring the personal valuation of an appraisal together with the neutrality of an [automated valuation model] evaluation. Fannie Mae stressed the importance of consistency on Tuesday when it hosted a private summit for quality control vendors. Tommy Duncan, executive vice president and owner of Quality Mortgage Services, attended the meeting and said he was exceptionally proud of Fannie Mae for shedding light on the issue. “This initiative is bringing unity of efforts and industry standardization,” he said. Earlier this year, the GSEs announced plans to develop a Uniform Appraisal Dataset, a Uniform Collateral Data Portal and a Uniform Loan Delivery Database. The UAD will standardize appraisal forms and how data is reported for both GSEs. When the system launches next year, it will apply to the uniform residential appraisal report; the individual condominium unit appraisal report; the exterior-only inspection individual condominium; unit appraisal report; and the exterior-only inspection residental appraisal report. Fannie and Freddie will use the UCDP to receive information from an appraiser before the loan application is received and to share information between the two. Comprehensive details on the systems will be available in December. Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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