Fannie Mae’s “Collateral Underwriter” Is Now Open For Business

Fannie Mae’s “Collateral Underwriter” Is Now Open For Business

As this newsletter is completed Monday p.m. at the start of the 2015 blizzard, “Collateral Underwriter” (CU) has taken effect. Here is a summary of some of the key points that appraisers need to know about Fannie Mae’s newly implemented “proprietary appraisal risk assessment application” which is intended to “support proactive management of appraisal quality”.

~The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) has collected data from over 12 million appraisals and 20 million transactions since 2011. Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) users, including lenders and appraisal management companies, who submit appraisals to Fannie Mae will have access to the various CU goodies such as risk scores, flags and messages.

~CU provides a risk score of from 1.0 to 5.0 with the so-called riskier appraisals receiving the higher grade and those deemed safer lower grades. Fannie Mae calculates that 97% of submitted appraisals can be so scored with geocoding limitations precluding 3%.

~CU will look at comparable sales used by appraisers and offer alternative choices. It will also utilize census blocks to analyze market conditions and review specific fields in an appraisal (i.e. condition rating) for consistency from one appraisal to the next.

~CU analyzes appraisals submitted in UAD format on Fannie Mae forms 1004 (Uniform Residential Appraisal Report) and 1073 (Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report). Other forms such as the 2055 (Exterior Only Inspection Residential Appraisal Report) and the 1025 (Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report) are excluded.

~At this time, CU applies to Fannie Mae only not to Freddie Mac or FHA. It does not, of course, apply to private appraisal assignments nor to commercial appraisals.

“Explain, explain, explain”. Appraisal 101 teaches appraisers the importance of explaining their findings to the report readers in order to avoid misunderstanding. It would appears as though one of the unintended consequences of CU will be to increase the scope of work as appraisers try to anticipate the various “flags” that might be raised in a particular appraisal and address them proactively. While this may sound like a positive point to non-appraisers, experienced appraisers might find it difficult to justify taking the time to “explain away” non-selected comps, for instance. Will this lead to a rejection of mortgage appraisal work by experienced appraisers, leaving those less experienced appraisers performing a larger share? It is also anticipated that appraisals of more unique properties will by their very nature end up with riskier scores than those “cookie cutter” type appraisals, all else being equal, making these assignments even less attractive to many appraisers (particularly when offered by AMCs that don’t acknowledge-or offer reasonable compensation-with appraisal assignments requiring greater time and/or expertise).

On January 21st, FNC’s Steve Costello writing in the AppraisalPort Daily stated that “The first thing to understand is that there is no need to panic. There are lots of rumors floating around that CU will be the end of appraising as we know it. In reality, if you haven’t already been getting a lot of returns for corrections, you probably won’t notice much difference when this change takes place”.

This has been a common refrain whenever changes designed to improve appraisal quality (and add-often unnecessarily- to the scope of work) are implemented: that good appraisers won’t notice any difference. The only problem with this logic, however, is that good appraisers may be bolting for greener pastures.

Will the last appraiser to leave please turn out the lights?

A link to Fannie Mae’s “Collateral Underwriter (CU) FAQs” is found here: Original