Enhancing Appraisal and Evaluation Reviews

Reviewing real estate appraisals and evaluations can seem a mundane but required task in the commercial lending process.  The commercial appraisal and evaluation (valuation) review process[i] within community-based financial institutions includes internally prepared reviews, third-party prepared reviews, or some combination of the two.  Often, the internally prepared review is completed by less experienced financial institution staff as a part of their training process, while some institutions have a dedicated appraisal and review department.  Loan officers may also perceive the review as a necessary evil rather than a risk management function.  The significance of the appraisal or evaluation review should be considered as a part of the pre-funding due diligence and risk management process, however pedestrian the process may seem.

Valuation reviews are a standard and vital part of a loan file review for commercial real estate lending transactions.  Recently our loan review activities identified two situations where the compliance review completed by the financial institution did not identify material flaws with the information included in the appraisal.   Both circumstances originated with a flawed appraisal engagement letter which did not appropriately identify the subject property.  The reviews of these valuations did not detect the mismatch between the appraised property and the property identified in the credit approval pledged to secure the transaction.  The result of the deficient appraisal review led to lending decisions using market values that did not represent the collateral pledged.

[i] The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) 2010-2011 edition defines an appraisal review as the act or process of developing and communicating an opinion about the quality of another appraiser’s work that was performed as part of an appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting assignment. In addition, Section 1473(e) of the Dodd-Frank Act amended Section 1110 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to require the federal financial regulatory agencies, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue appraisal review standards.

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