As mortgage fraud remains a serious problem for communities across the country, the Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) continue to voice their support for congressional action to abate mortgage fraud, particularly The Responsible Lending Act (H.R. 1295).
Mortgage fraud is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. There is no incentive for Congress to act on HR 1295 anytime soon. As mortgage volume declines as rates increase, lobbying groups for lenders, mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers will be at full throttle.
The bill been stalled since the spring of 2005 when it was heralded as a step in the right direction. Now that one of its co-authors, Bob Ney, is in legal trouble, it seems like the fate of HR 1295 is sealed.
The bill places certain language in the legal pervue of applying pressure and a few other housekeeping issues.
The problem with this legislation is that it includes membership in these appraisal organizations as part of the solution. I think that membership in a private organization as a way to solve mortgage fraud is window dressing, honestly. Its great for the organizations but I fail to see how professionalism will improve on a large scale.
Do I think membership in these organizations enhance professionalism? Of course. But thats not the point.
The problem is about enforcement, civil and criminal penalties, standards and possible mediation solutions.