Nations Valuation Services (NVS), a nationwide appraisal management company (AMC), announces its decision to engage Comergence, a leading provider of third-party risk management platforms for the mortgage industry, to perform background checks and ongoing monitoring of its field appraisers. Comergence’s proprietary service, REALM for Appraisers, eliminates the need for the redundant background checks and verifications appraisers must often undergo in order to do business with AMCs and lenders.
Comergence enables NVS to meet and even exceed Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) requirements by performing thorough due diligence on their appraisal panel quickly and efficiently. All of NVS’s appraisers nationwide will be provided access to Comergence and will have the ability to set up a single online profile that may be shared electronically with any AMC or lender they choose, making the background check truly portable.
Appraiser verifications have become commonplace in the mortgage industry ever since regulations driven by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established that lenders are ultimately responsible for the actions of third parties, including appraisers. Many lenders are now taking steps to ensure that the appraisers they or their AMCs use are properly vetted to comply with those regulations.
“When our customers asked us to verify that we were thoroughly vetting and monitoring our appraisers, we did our own due diligence in searching for the right partner to support us,” said Stephen French, executive vice president with NVS. “We looked at several companies and found that Comergence offered the most comprehensive solution which best fit our needs, and the needs of our appraiser panel. It meets the compliance requirements of our customers and simplifies the process for our appraisers, saving them money and aggravation.”
NVS believes REALM for Appraisers will also solve a major problem appraisers contend with: having to undergo numerous background checks and other verifications for every lender and AMC they work with. “This has become a huge problem for appraisers, who spend their own time and money for each background check,” French said. “It’s been unbelievably frustrating for them.”
Regulations also require lenders and AMCs to consistently monitor an appraiser’s licensing status. However, with Comergence, any changes to an appraiser’s profile are immediately updated, giving lenders and AMCs the ability to effectively manage appraiser relationships and help ensure compliance.
“We’re delighted Nations Valuation Services made the decision to use Comergence to offer their appraisers some relief from background checks, as well as to offer their customers the confidence that NVS’s appraisers have all been properly vetted,” said Greg Schroeder, president of Comergence. “We’ve seen a significant increase in demand from lenders and AMCs for our services because we offer the most complete solution.”
Feedback from appraisers using the Comergence service has been very positive. “An increasing number of AMCs are requesting I provide a background check as a condition of admission to be their fee panel,” said Russel Rice, an independent fee appraiser with Precision Appraisal Service in Parkersburg, West Virginia. “But every background check costs me money—plus every application I fill out increases the risk that someone could steal my identity, Comergence makes it easy to get a single background check that my company can share with whomever we please for no additional charge. It’s a great idea with a reasonable price.”