Taking A Look At Appraisal Quality

*Taking A Look At Appraisal Quality*
**By Tony Garritano**

***You know what they say: quality over quantity. Everyone wants and needs to produce the best quality loan. Well, the appraisal is a big part of that equation. That’s why players like a la mode have launched Mercury Network’s new Appraisal Quality Management system (AQM). The AQM service, available only on Mercury Network, guides underwriters to the issues in each appraisal with actionable recommendations, and produces investor-ready loan files with the goal of dramatically reducing repurchase risk.

****AQM is the result of lengthy collaboration between a la mode and MasterServ Financial and AXIS Appraisal Management Solutions. The system automates first level quality analysis on appraisal reports, provides intelligent underwriting recommendations, deploys a powerful automated revision request system for communicating with appraisers, and automatically packages associated due diligence documents with the loan file for use by investors or auditors. With AQM, risk assessment and investor preparation is transparently integrated with standard collateral valuation workflow.

****Essential results are returned along with an overall Appraisal Quality Index (AQI) score compiled from analysis of five intelligently weighted risk categories in the appraisal report, consisting of property risk, market issues, completeness of the appraisal report, accuracy of the findings, and the risk associated with the collateral value. Clients also have clear guidance and individual AQI scores for each of the five factors separately.

****AQM leverages the expertise of human underwriters and compliance officers, along with the appraisers themselves, instead of hopelessly attempting to automate the review process without them or burying everyone in productivity-killing checklists. It’s a holistic system that recognizes that the communications and revisions process linking vendors and staff together is as critical as any analytical capability in the complex report/review/revise cycle.

****Jennifer Miller, President of a la mode’s Mortgage Solutions Division noted, “The industry has lacked this sort of efficient skill-multiplying service for underwriters and compliance departments for too long. Since AQM was designed and deployed by seasoned industry experts, it focuses on reducing staff load, pinpointing issues quickly without creating distractions, and integrating cleanly with current operations workflow. It supplies a clear advantage for underwriters by providing testimony in buyback requests, and documenting due diligence to investors and auditors by keeping everything in the loan file.”

****a la mode’s Mercury Network is the nation’s premiere Vendor Management Platform in the appraisal and BPO industries, offering both interfaceless “black box” MercuryDirect services and APIs, as well as “turn key” MercuryManaged Web front ends for use by loan officers and compliance staff. Mercury has been used in both capacities by a lengthy roster of the nation’s largest lenders and AMCs, as well as by numerous community banks, credit unions, wholesale and correspondent lenders, and mortgage brokers, simplifying full compliance with appraisal independence standards and banking security regulations. It’s been used by more than 200,000 mortgage professionals since 2002 to automate the full “round trip” of tens of millions of appraisals.