Nov/Dec 2023 RMM

Working With AMCs Because lenders work with appraisal management companies (AMCs), they should vet AMCs to ensure they are following sound procedures, the attorneys say. At Florida-based Atlas Value Management Solutions, the AMC wants to make sure it is working with appraisers who are aware of the trends and are responding accordingly, says Erik Morin, Atlas’ president. “I’m a believer that bias exists,” he says. “I also think it is hard to quantify. But the reason we are having this conversation in the first place is that we have to be prepared for what our borrowers bring to us. With the borrowers that NRMLA members interact with each day, there are times where they might bring forward a bias complaint, and we want the brokers and lenders who interact with them to be prepared for that.” While regulations clearly forbid intentional bias, appraisers might not be aware that some of the things they do and say can create problems. Unconscious bias can be flagged by having conversations and listening for approaches that show bias, he suggests. Over the years, Morin says, as an example, he has seen appraisers for reverse mortgages comment that they don’t think someone should get a reverse mortgage on a property that they had paid off. “That’s not for them to decide,” he explains. “It’s not their job to think that way. But do they carry that with them when they go to their assignment? In our onboarding process, we ask a lot of reverse mortgage- focused questions. That’s going to help us with issues around the product and ages. We want appraisers who are very comfortable working with seniors and working with this product because we don’t want any surprises.” People can learn from such conversations. And Morin now asks questions around other forms of bias and whether appraisers are taking continuing education courses. Many appraisers operate small businesses, so they might not have worked in a setting where legal experts and human resources professionals will have clearly defined acceptable behavior or attended diversity training, he points out. “We’ve had appraisers over the years say things to borrowers and it’s like, ‘Why would you ever say those things?’ That would never fly in the corporate world,” Morin says. People can change, so openness to learning is critical, he adds. Training opportunities are increasing throughout the appraisal industry, including more continuing education requirements through state licensing agencies, Morin points out. “I want to know if they attended sessions on bias during appraisal events and conferences,” he says. “There are opportunities to get educated on this.” CELEBRATING 15 YEARS 2008 — 2023 (800) 542-4113 As we celebrate this milestone, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our clients, partners and staff who have played an integral role in our success. Your unwavering support has allowed us to thrive. THANK YOU for choosing PRC and we look forward to serving you for many years to come. “This is a serious issue. It’s not a dormant matter—it’s a forefront matter. And it needs to be treated as a forefront matter.” —Jim Brodsky, Weiner Brodsky Kider Appraisal Bias continued on page 32 Erik Morin REVERSE MORTGAGE / NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2023 31