Private mortgage banker Stonegate Mortgage recently teamed with StreetLinks National Appraisal Services, its new preferred appraisal partner. StreetLinks will provide Stonegate's wholesale operations -- based in the Midwest -- with fully compliant valuations, just in time for the revised Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) taking effect May 1. "Stonegate Mortgage selected StreetLinks based on their large concentration of approved appraisers in our lending area," stated Stonegate executive vice president Steve Landes in a company media statement Monday. The banker's partnership with StreetLinks, which recently expanded its Indianapolis-based operations, provides Stonegate with HVCC-compliant appraisals in its geographic region of operation. "StreetLinks is operationally based in the same market as our corporate headquarters, which means the company's employees understand the markets in which we lend," said Stonegate president Jim Cutillo. The partnership also ensures Stonegate's compliance with the controversial HVCC, which critics argue may push independent appraisers out of lending-related work. The government-sponsored entities and the then-OFHEO (now FHFA) agreed to the original HVCC in March '08 after negotiating with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who had threatened to sue both GSEs over alleged fraudulent appraisals. The code essentially requires the selection and assignment of appraisers on a blind basis via independent, third-party platforms to avoid conflicts of interest and fraud. The code also has initiated a series of partnerships like Stonegate's, which essentially arms mortgage bankers with HVCC compliance to ensure their ability to originate future loans. Stonegate said it expects to originate $400m in purchase, refinance, construction and renovation loans in '09 with the help of StreetLinks' HVCC-compliant valuation. Write to Diana Golobay at