IOWA (April 4, 2007) – As mortgage fraud remains a serious problem for communities across the country, the Iowa Chapter of the Appraisal Institute is leading the charge to fight appraiser pressure in Iowa by backing Senate File 137 (S.F. 137), which would prohibit third parties from improperly influencing an appraiser. In partnership with the Appraisal Institute’s State Government Affairs Office, the Iowa Chapter recently issued an action alert encouraging Iowa appraisers to contact their State representatives to urge them to support the legislation. After passing through the Iowa Senate on a vote of 49-0, and making it past the House Commerce Committee on a vote of 20-1, S.F. 137 now sits on the floor of the House awaiting debate.
“From an anti-mortgage fraud perspective, the key purpose of S.F. 137 is the main provision, which seeks to eliminate pressure on appraisers to reach a predetermined value,” said the Appraisal Institute’s Iowa Government Relations chairman Gary Caldwell. “With cases of mortgage fraud - especially in the residential sector - reaching new heights, the need for appraiser independence from unscrupulous third parties is greater than ever before.”
In addition to promoting appraiser independence, S.F. 137 also increases the oversight of appraisal trainees. An individual (trainee) who wishes to become a certified appraiser would be required to begin as an “associate appraiser” under closer supervision of the Iowa Real Estate Appraiser Examining Board. Among the bill’s key supporters are Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (whose office drafted the language in S.F. 137), the Iowa Appraisal Advisory Council and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
“The Attorney General’s office has taken an interest in the passage of this type of legislation because they want to protect consumers from predatory lending practices,” noted Caldwell. “Unfortunately, many borrowers are losing their homes due to mortgage loans that should not have been originated in the first place. S.F. 137 won’t eliminate the problem of mortgage fraud; however, it’s a step in the right direction,” added Caldwell.
For more information on S.F. 137 and other legislative issues affecting appraisers, visit www.appraisalinstitute.org/govtaffairs.
The Iowa Chapter is one of 96 local chapters of the Appraisal Institute throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The Appraisal Institute is a global membership association of professional real estate appraisers, with 22,000 members throughout the world. Organized in 1932, its mission is to support and advance its members as the choice for real estate solutions and uphold professional credentials, standards of professional practice and ethics consistent with the public good. Members benefit from an array of professional education and advocacy programs, and may hold the prestigious MAI, SRPA and SRA designations. Appraisal Institute members adhere to a strictly enforced Code of Professional Ethics and Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. For more information about the Iowa Chapter visit http://www.aiofiowa.org. For more information on the Appraisal Institute visit www.appraisalinstitute.org.