Appraisers — who have seen their fees cut in half in recent years as a result of a mandated clearing house approach to appraisal assignments which was a knee jerk reaction by the Legislature resulting from lender fraud cases where the Bank insisted appraisers keep values inflated — are now protecting what is left of their disappearing turf.

According to an article this week at Inman.com:

Industry groups representing appraisers are pushing for a ban on the use of BPOs to value short-sale properties in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program, saying they open the door to mortgage fraud.

NAR says the appraiser groups have provided “misinformation” to the Treasury Department about the role of BPOs in mortgage fraud and the application of state laws governing BPOs.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, NAR president Vicki Cox Golder said :

“NAR is concerned about misinformation that has been provided to the Treasury Department by the Appraisal Institute with regards to the use of BPOs and the real estate agents who provide this service…

There is no evidence to support the assertion that appraisers are more or less likely to engage in mortgage fraud than real estate agents…

While misconceptions in the industry persist, there is no evidence that a BPO exacerbates mortgage fraud or abuse.”

With transaction counts way low, and with Banks resorting to BPOs for REO and Short Sale decisions (which also represent the vast majority of real estate transactions), this dust-up seemed predestined.

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