Insights5 Reasons to Shift the Appraisal Process to an AMC Model

This article originally appeared on BankDirector.com

Record mortgage activity in 2020 has inspired many lenders that have traditionally managed their appraisal processes to look at working with an appraisal management company, or AMC.

Working with an AMC allows lenders to focus on their core competencies, which is essential in this demanding environment. While some are shifting entirely to an AMC model, others are considering a hybrid approach that utilizes their original panel but leverages the innovative technology of an AMC. Lenders can benefit from working with an AMC in the following areas:

National AMCs dedicate significant resources towards risk management and regulatory compliance

Keeping up with evolving statutes, regulations and industry standards requires an extraordinary level of diligence and investment from institutions. For example, lenders with in-house panels must be able to demonstrate to regulators that the individuals managing their panel are isolated from the sales, operations and production functions of their businesses so there can be no question as to their impartiality. Lenders that use an AMC are relieved of this burden, because AMC appraisers are independent of the lending organization.

High-quality AMCs constantly invest in risk and compliance measures, including developing and implementing technology, systems and protocols to address a whole host of compliance needs. The best AMCs are poised to respond quickly to regulatory changes and incorporate new lender-driven requirements, policies and procedures.

AMCs reduce administrative oversight responsibilities

Partnering with an AMC relieves lenders of the responsibilities and overhead related to maintaining and managing an appraiser panel, such as screening, selecting and boarding new appraisers; auditing for certifications, licenses and insurance; and scoring appraisers to ensure the most qualified appraiser is assigned to each order.

In addition to screening, onboarding and ongoing ranking, the best AMCs will require errors and omissions insurance. They also require or supply state and federal background checks for every appraiser. Premier AMCs go even further and invest in sophisticated score-carding across multiple disciplines to ensure that a highly qualified appraiser with the requisite skills and experience is selected for each appraisal.

Lenders benefit from the AMC’s technology and infrastructure

The best AMCs tend to be on the leading edge of technology. They make ongoing, sizable investments into developing and implementing technology, streamlining their own processes and providing a better experience for clients. AMCs with a national presence work closely with their lender base, which helps them anticipate and quickly react to emerging challenges.

When clients across the country share their insights into what they want and what their customers expect from a technology perspective, AMCs can identify trends that might take an individual lender a little longer to recognize, and help them keep their technology ahead of market- and quality-specific challenges.

For example, lenders can benefit from working with an AMC that offers real-time, digital scheduling. This technology provides consumers, loan officers and real estate agents with increased convenience and transparency. It improves lenders’ processes by eliminating phone tag and scheduling delays. Instead, the user can select an appointment date and time and receive instant confirmation. This adds to the lender’s credibility as a partner focused on customer satisfaction.

Now more than ever, banks are tasked with ensuring data security – not only their own, but that of their third-party suppliers. The top AMCs constantly invest in best-in-class security infrastructures and prioritize data security through advanced controls and regular audits of their facilities, systems, communications, and internet protocols.

AMCs help lenders scale

Many lenders needed to quickly recruit appraisers this year, as refinance volume spiked to a 17-year high. AMCs were able to accommodate these volume fluctuations because they had deep appraiser panels in place with nationwide coverage.

Because AMCs manage volume from lenders around the industry, they build scalability into their capabilities. In addition, this deeper pool of talent offers a wider range of knowledge such as specific property types and value ranges.

AMCs offer options

While some lenders may opt to shift fully to an AMC model, others elect a hybrid approach. This might take the form of adopting the AMC’s technology but not its panel management, allowing an AMC to manage a bank’s existing panel as an independent entity, or leveraging an AMC when handing off volume outside of the geographic footprint or area of expertise.

When a lender has a trusted panel they want to keep but not manage, it can allow the AMC to manage those appraisers in their system. The lender benefits from the AMC’s technology, experience and appraiser oversight, score-carding and recruitment capabilities, while eliminating their operational and fixed-personnel costs. The financial and operational benefits of this type of model can be exceptional.

*ServiceLink Valuation Solutions, LLC, (“ServiceLink”) is a registered Appraisal Management Company (“AMC”) in all states with AMC licensing requirements. ServiceLink’s AMC license numbers in states that require disclosure on these instructions are: NV # AMC.0000118, VT # 077.0067954-MAIN, WI #2-900.

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