Less than one month after launching operations, the private holding group StoicLane – the backers of Interfirst Mortgage – has acquired control of the appraisal management company Lender’s Valuation Services (LVS).
The companies did not disclose the amount of the deal announced on Wednesday.
Al Goldstein, a co-founder of StoicLane, said the holding group wants to support LVS’s objective to “grow into one of the largest appraisal management companies in the U.S.”
Goldstein founded StoicLane in September alongside Matt Foran and Jake Nice to invest in finance, insurance, and real estate businesses. The team co-founded several companies and, since 2004, they claim to have created $4 billion in equity value to investors. Just last week, StoicLane announced that it had led a $175 million round for Chicago-based mortgage originator Interfirst Mortgage.
California-based LVS was founded in 2014 and provides appraisal management services to lenders, banks, mortgage brokers, credit unions, and financial institutions. The company was founded by mortgage professionals and appraisers that “witnessed the collapse of the mortgage industry.”
To keep up with the high demand amid the ongoing pandemic, appraisers need a remote solution that keeps them in full control.
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Tiffany Wojcik, president and CEO of LVS, said that the deal shows confidence and support of the “innovation and elevated customer experience to come” to the company’s business.
Innovation in appraisals is a hot topic. On Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said that desktop appraisals, a temporary flexibility implemented in March 2020 amid lockdowns, will become permanent.
There’s been quite a bit of M&A in the valuation space of late – in September, Class Valuation, one of the biggest players in the space, acquired Pendo Management for an undisclosed sum.
The AMC sector is not without controversy. Appraisers have said AMCs introduce inefficiency into the appraisal process, degrade their working conditions and cut into their pay.
The appraisal process itself has also come under fire, with growing concern over the role the appraisal process plays in the racial home valuation gap. In July, an Oakland woman filed a complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development accusing an appraiser, Class Valuation and two mortgage originators, Kind Lending and Home Point Financial Corporation, of undervaluing her home to the tune of $400,000.
HUD has also taken up the issue of potential bias in appraisals, and in July formed an interagency taskforce to study the matter and recommend policy interventions. It held its first listening session on Oct. 14 but closed the event to press.