Monday, August 23, 2010

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - Now, the Rules

In support of one of my observations about H.R. 4173, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the following quote from an editorial in today's New York Times is offered:

Read the whole thing.
The Federal Reserve must now translate the legislative language into rules that will govern how brokers, lenders, appraisers and investors behave from now on. Given the Fed’s long history of putting the financial industry first and consumer protection second, Congress will need to keep a close eye on the rule-making process.

The expectation that Congress will "keep a close eye" on anything is a stretch, however. WE must keep a close eye on the rule-making.

Although the FED will be writing the interim rules, all the Federal Banking Regulatory Agencies will be participating in the final rules. The FDIC has issued a statement announcing an "Open Door Policy for Regulatory Reform Rule-making." Time to subscribe to their emails and notices.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

My world was much different in the late 1980’s. Although I had been in the real estate and appraisal profession for a decade, political activity did not interest me. Here at Gregoire & Gregoire, we had been using a networked mini-computer for appraisal reporting since 1983, but I did not have an email account or address. I did not surf the web. Our clients were savings and loan associations, FHA lenders, loan discount companies (purchasers of privately originated first and second mortgages), real estate brokers, and several lawyers. All our research was completed through examination of paper and microfiche records. We went through Polaroid SX-70 film packs by the case and always kept a spare camera or two in the back seat or trunk of the car. Life was good. A career in the appraisal profession, at least here in the Sunshine State, was one coveted by many.

In-person networking with other appraisers was a regular activity, and usually accomplished at the monthly meetings of the local chapter of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. My memory may be a little foggy, but I do remember sitting down with a few appraiser friends after a Society meeting to discuss the pending implementation of Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). Unlike most of my peers, I was not enthused or optimistic about the new law. It was difficult to see any upside for me or the profession by involving the federal government in appraisal regulation. I lost the argument with my friends, shouted down with comments about “professionalism” and “national standards”.

About 20 years after that discussion, technology has influenced many of the actions involved in the research, development and reporting of appraisals. Our ability and means to research and communicate has improved exponentially, and personally, my interest in regulation, government, and politics has become an obsession. The nature of some folks within the sphere of real property, loan origination, lending and banking is, unfortunately, just as it was. A mere 25 or so years after the disintegration of the savings and loans that prompted FIRREA, the country finds itself in the midst of an even worse financial mess. In response to crisis, and true to form, Congress has once again sprung into action to save us all. Their solution is H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Work in Progress - Post on H.R. 4173 The Dodd-Frank Bill

In between appraisal reports, speaking to groups about market conditions, and working on Holly Benson's Campaign for Florida Attorney General, I've been writing an opinion piece about the appraisal related sections of H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. (848 page pdf)

It's near completion. Copies have been circulated among some columnists, bloggers, appraisal regulators, and trusted appraisers for comment. Portions may be posted on some other sites as quotes, but the entire piece should appear here on Appraiser Active within the week.

Check back soon!


Friday, August 13, 2010

For Friday the 13th - A Little Bit of Humor

My close friends know I harbor a few superstitions. One of them has to do with Friday the 13th. I never plan anything of significance for this day. Although I'm in the middle of several important assignments, there is no way my signature will be affixed to a document with today's date.

Instead, I offer this video about BPOs or Broker's Price Opinions.

Hat tip to Cherolyne Fogarty from Walk the Talk Presentations.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time For Politics - Holly Benson for Florida Attorney General - UPDATED!

Although Appraiser Active enjoys readers from across the United States and has visits from each continent (except Antarctica), I am a Florida State-Certified Appraiser and interested in the future of the Sunshine State. Since I'm "On a Quest to Improve the Profession" it's important to be involved in the political process. We appraisers and real estate practitioners have a chance to help elect a candidate with firsthand knowledge of our professions as Florida Attorney General.

As a member of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB) from 2000 until early 2008, I had the opportunity to work with 5 different individuals that served as Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Not all of them were interested in real property appraisal and real estate brokerage. Holly Benson, appointed as Secretary of DBPR in late 2006, distinguished herself by taking an interest.

Although the DBPR is a huge state agency, responsible for licensing and regulating over 1,000,000 in the state of Florida, Holly made it a point to attend several meetings of the FREAB during her term as Secretary. Her attendance was not merely to update the members of the board on activities of the DBPR. She watched the board in action, listen to the discussion during rule making and the deliberation when disciplinary cases were considered. Holly Benson assisted the FREAB by assuring we were able to meet standards of performance required by the Appraisal Subcommittee. Our requests for action did not fall on deaf ears.

Because so many appraiser disciplinary cases involved mortgage fraud, Holly learned of many of the schemes and heard of the losses and consequences suffered by lenders and the public due to illegal behavior by real estate insiders. If elected Attorney General, she is ready to use this experience to prosecute the wrongdoers.

Florida has just passed a bill to regulate Appraisal Management Companies. There will be some conflicts with H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It includes changes to the Appraisal Subcommittee, and calls for more responsibilities and power to be vested in the Appraisal Foundation. Florida Real Estate Appraisers will benefit if the Attorney General has firsthand knowledge of the federal influence on appraiser regulation.

As Secretary of DBPR, Holly Benson was instrumental in reducing bureaucratic red tape, enhancing customer (licensee and public) service, and streamlining procedures. We need a Pro-Business candidate as Florida's Attorney General.

There are plenty of reasons I'm supporting Holly Benson for Florida Attorney General, and working hard to assure she prevails in the August 24, 2010 Primary. I hope you take the time to visit her site, Holly Benson for Florida Attorney General, learn a bit more about her background and join me in casting a vote for her in the primary.

Although an army marches on its stomach, political campaigns run on cash. There's a CONTRIBUTE button on that site. Every bit helps. Don't be shy about $25.00, $50.00, or $100.00. It will be worth it to have a friend of appraisers as Attorney General of Florida. She will help in our quest to improve the profession.

UPDATE 8/15/2010 --

Earlier today we proudly represented Holly Benson during the Pinellas County GOP Victory Picnic. We had an opportunity to talk to the over 300 people attending about Holly's plan for Florida as the State Attorney General. Here's my wife, Fran Strayhorn, ready to talk about Holly.

NOTE:  This is NOT a Paid Political Advertisement. It has not been paid for or approved by any candidate.