Agencies Amend Real Estate Appraisal Regulations (September 27, 2019)

November 27, 2019

By: Kyle Curtis, Director of Lending Services

The OCC, Board, and FDIC adopted a final rule to amend the regulations requiring appraisals of real estate for residential real estate transactions. The rule increases the threshold level at or below which appraisals are not required for residential real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000.

The rule defines a residential real estate transaction as a real estate-related financial transaction that is secured by a single 1-to-4 family residential property. For residential real estate transactions exempted from the appraisal requirement as a result of the revised threshold, regulated institutions must obtain an evaluation of the real property collateral that is consistent with safe and sound banking practices.

The requirements for an evaluation are set forth in the 2010 Appraisal Guidelines, and are more extensive than what many smaller institutions do for evaluations. Readers may wish to review the requirements in that document and determine whether changes need to be made regarding your evaluation practices.

The rule also amends the agencies’ appraisal regulations to require regulated institutions to subject appraisals for federally related transactions to appropriate review for compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

Effective Dates
The provisions of much of this final rule will be effective by the time you read this; however, the evaluation requirement for transactions exempted by the rural residential appraisal exemption and the requirement to review appraisals for compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice are effective on January 1, 2020.

Incorporation of the Rural Residential Appraisal Exemption
Congress amended Title XI to add a rural residential appraisal exemption. Under this exemption, a financial institution need not obtain a Title XI appraisal if the property is located in a rural area; the transaction value is less than $400,000; the financial institution retains the loan in portfolio, subject to exceptions; and not later than three days after the Closing Disclosure Form is given to the consumer, the financial institution or its agent has contacted not fewer than three state-certified or state-licensed appraisers, as applicable, and has documented that no such appraiser was available within five business days beyond customary and reasonable fee and timeliness standards for comparable appraisal assignments.

Given the general rule increase to $400,000, essentially these requirements become moot.

Addition of the Appraisal Review Requirement
The Dodd-Frank Act amended Title XI to require that the agencies’ appraisal regulations include a requirement that Title XI appraisals be subject to appropriate review for compliance with USPAP.

Appraisal review is consistent with safe and sound banking practices, and should be employed as part of the credit approval process to ensure that appraisals comply with USPAP, the appraisal regulations, and a financial institution’s internal policies. Appraisal reviews help ensure that an appraisal contains sufficient information and analysis to support the decision to engage in the transaction. We recently had a discussion with a banker who did not review an appraisal. When they “got around to it” they discovered that the appraisal was “not even close,” and ordered a new appraisal. Based on the new appraisal, their LTV was over 130%.

Many financial institutions may already have review processes in place for these purposes. Evaluations need not comply with USPAP. While financial institutions should continue to conduct safety and soundness reviews of evaluations to ensure that an evaluation contains sufficient information and analysis to support the decision to engage in the transaction, the USPAP review requirement in Title XI does not apply to such a review.

The agencies decided to implement the requirement that financial institutions review appraisals for federally related transactions for compliance with USPAP. The agencies encourage regulated institutions to review their existing appraisal review policies and incorporate additional procedures for subjecting appraisals for federally related transactions to appropriate review for compliance with USPAP, as needed.

Readers who wish to read the entire 80-page document as prepared by the regulators can find it at:

Young & Associates, Inc. can offer assistance with appraisal review, and any other compliance topics. Please feel free to contact me for information regarding these services at [email protected] or (330) 422.3445.

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