There are a lot of issues facing the appraisal industry right now. And to anyone that's been in this industry – whether you're an appraiser, software vendor, lender, AMC, E&O insurer, or other industry participant – that's nothing new. It's also nothing new that a la mode supports appraisers and appraisal organizations, and we're taking it a step further through our new Community Partnerships Program that I am in charge of developing. You can find more info about it here: www.alamode.com/community.
What IS new is how the industry and regulators are addressing and solving these problems. The focus used to be at the federal level, and now it's at the state level (and with good reason). Those reasons all harp on the same core aspect: states understand their jurisdictions better and act faster – and with greater effect – to address the needs and problems affecting those in their market.
No one in this industry wants a "one size fits all" solution to the problems they face in their local markets, just like generals don't tell each battalion or regimental commander to use the exact same tactics no matter the terrain or opposing force. But differences in each state are more than just geographic – they're the political landscape and economy of each state or region – and they vary drastically. So one of those "one size fits all" solutions is bound to gain no traction and fail to fix or address a state or region's needs and wants.
At a la mode we believe that the key battlegrounds are mostly going to be on the state level. It's more important than ever to have powerful and influential state appraisal organizations representing and protecting appraisers' interests in each locality. State appraisal organizations should, could (and in our opinion, WILL) become the battlefield commanders when it comes to pushing through initiatives such as AMC registration requirements, recovery funds for non-paying clients, establishing Customary and Reasonable fees, minimum turnaround times, etc.
And don't get me wrong, there is a definite need for national appraisal organizations too. They, along with the federal regulators help state chapters or member organizations coordinate, refine, and support these various initiatives and solutions. Not to mention that there will always be a need to have appraiser interests lobbied for and voiced to the federal government and regulators. But the critical battles facing appraisers will be fought – won or lost – more quickly and with greater effect at the state level.
Obviously the OCC, CFPB, NCUA, FHFA, Federal Reserve, and FDIC utilize the states as the front-line enforcement of regulatory authority over appraisers and AMCs as well. Local organizations can and will have a huge impact on how federal regulation guidance actually takes shape in their states.
Obviously, we want to protect appraisers' interests by helping organizations to win their battles. In fact, to ensure this, we've created a new Community Partnerships Program to help appraisal organizations grow their ranks, reduce member costs, increase their visibility, and reduce operating costs of running an organization.
As the Director of Community Partnerships, I'm in charge of setting this up and seeing it through. My stance as an appraisal advocate is nothing new – I'm a product of the a la mode culture after all – and many would argue that it's in my blood.
This Community Partnership Program is "upping the ante" in appraisal advocacy. We will do more than other vendors have. We will do more than e-mail a video speech, provide a small sponsorship, or raffle an inconsequential item, as others have done. For a full list of what it all offers, visit www.alamode.com/community.
- The awareness and marketing exposure it provides will be unmatched. After all, more appraisers use our products than all other competitors combined.
- It will be unbiased. We don't care how many appraisers in an organization use our products. This will transcend software boundaries, and this is nothing new either. Our TOTAL Store allows any vendor (even direct competitors) to integrate with TOTAL and WinTOTAL via an open API.
- It will be all encompassing. Every appraisal organization – whether an official group or a decentralized grassroots movement – will be able to utilize this program to their benefit and to their members' benefit.
- But most importantly, it will provide REAL results that matter to your daily business. Have confidence that – after every dollar, every year, and every new obstacle – there is a vendor out there supporting the continuance of your profession and means of earning a living providing critical services in this beautiful nation's economy. After all, isn't that the point of appraisal advocacy – to actually advocate for appraisers?
Visit www.alamode.com/community or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're a member or leader of an appraisal organization or you're thinking about founding one in your state. Whether your organization is big, small, national, or local, we will provide you with the same support opportunities that are available to any and all other appraisal organizations.
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