AIMS 4.4 to smooth lender-appraiser interaction while maintaining appraisal independence

AIMSdashboard has released the latest version of its Web-based Appraisal Independence Management System (AIMS), featuring several compliance-focused additions.  AIMS 4.4 will promote lender compliance with the appraisal independence requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgagee Letter 09-28, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) and the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC).  AIMS 4.4 further automates several elements of appraisal operations, smoothing lender-appraiser interaction during appraisal production.

“Lenders are seeking more oversight in the appraisal process, which may appear to conflict with appraisal independence requirements” said Chris Williams, president and chief technology officer for AIMSdashboard.  “AIMS 4.4 strikes a balance between the requirement of appraisal independence and lender process oversight. The two seemingly opposed qualities can be achieved through the use of software, eliminating dependence on third party appraisal management companies.”

While lenders and origination agents will appreciate the increased efficiencies offered by AIMS 4.4, appraisers will benefit from increased input into the process, as well as the rebuttal of the perception that only a third party intermediary, such as an appraisal management company, can truly satisfy appraisal independence mandates.  “A significant number of appraisers are frustrated that many lenders mistakenly subscribe to the myth that they must use a third party appraisal management company” said Chris Williams, president and chief technology officer for AIMSdashboard.  “Let me be as clear as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA have been: there is no requirement to employ an AMC.” 

AIMS 4.4 delivers several new elements designed to restore efficiencies to the entire process, including:

•    An automatic engagement letter from the lender, which allows appraisers to accept or reject the lender’s assignment within the framework of the system.
•    Automatically-generated questionnaire addressing USPAP competency affirmation and ethics rule disclosure for each appraisal assignment, allowing the lender to actively manage the process where an appraiser’s response merits further consideration.
•    Introduction of Appraiser Administrators, providing increased efficiency through the performance of administrative functions (appraisal status updates, document download/upload), especially while appraisers are busy performing “field inspections.”
•    Workflow driven appraiser fee negotiation when assignment conditions and scope warrant a fee change.
•    Appraisal status updates reaching all levels of lender operations as well as the origination agents (loan officers, mortgage brokers, etc) 

The new features amount to real time status updates for the lender and originator, as well as faster delivery of any appraisal-related notifications necessary for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) compliance.  “More than ever, mortgage originators are looking for ways to regain efficiency in the valuation process without sacrificing accuracy,” said Williams. 

Simultaneously, AIMS 4.4. will provide appraisers the level of autonomy and independence intended by the various regulations, freeing them to deliver high quality appraisal products.  “AIMS allows appraisers to work with lenders on the direct terms of the lender without having to meet the additional demands of an intermediary, such as an appraisal management company,” said Williams.  “We allow the appraiser to communicate directly with the lender, the ultimate customer, and with the origination agents in a compliant fashion.”