Attention, all states and territories.

Six housing authorities are now collectively demanding standardization across state lines by recently announcing new minimum state requirements outlining the supervision and state registration of appraisal management companies.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the National Credit Union Administration have come together on this joint decision to bring about more consistency among AMCs throughout the nation.

As these regulations are enacted in the coming months, AMCs should pay close attention to states that are not already in compliance with these requirements.

To a lesser degree, AMCS should also look for any additional amendments to compliant states’ current requirements.

The new regulation’s minimum requirements for all states include ensuring that AMCs register in the state and subject themselves to its supervision; that they contract only with state certified or licensed appraisers for federal transactions; and that these appraisers have the independence and qualifications to competently complete appraisals within the market area as referenced in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

The AMC will also be expected to meet all mandates of the Truth in Lending Act.

In addition to these minimum requirements, each individual state has the ability to insist on higher standards for AMCs, such as the exact timeframe for appraisers’ payment.

To enforce all of these requirements, AMCs are subject to regular audits and may be fined if they do not meet a state’s standards.

The good news is that a majority of states are already meeting these minimum requirements, which translates into fewer challenges for AMCs.

Currently, 37 of the 54 states and territories impacted by this regulation are in compliance.

However, in the remaining 17 states and territories, AMCs may need to acquire additional certifications as these regions implement these required changes.

The 17 states and territories consist of:

  1. Alaska
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. Guam
  4. Hawaii
  5. Idaho
  6. Iowa
  7. Maine
  8. Massachusetts
  9. New Jersey
  10. New York
  11. North Dakota
  12. Ohio
  13. Puerto Rico
  14. Rhode Island
  15. South Carolina
  16. Virgin Islands
  17. Wisconsin 

 

The regulations state that the remaining states and territories out of compliance will have 36 months to develop these standards from when the law goes into effect. This provision also gives AMCs time to accommodate the new, stricter standards without penalty.

As these requirements come into effect, AMCs need to continuously monitor which states are currently in compliance and which will adopt the new minimum requirements in the near future. As the list of states following these requirements evolves, AMCs may need to devote resources to meeting these standards. 

The safest path for AMCs to address these new requirements is to develop controls that meet the strictest states’ standards, which should also ensure they are providing lenders the highest quality service possible.

It should be a very smooth transition for the industry because of the lengthy time frame that these states are given to prepare for these new standards and the overwhelming number that are already following the guidelines.

AMCs should hold themselves to the highest standards, no matter which states they operate in. Following these practices will prepare them for any changes in state standards to come and help avoid fines or extensive audits.