Its hard to imagine its finally happening, but regulations proposed in early 2005 were just finalized that make Fannie and Freddie now responsible to detect and report mortgage fraud to OFHEO [Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight [Note: PDF]].
This is a first step (albeit tiny) in creating some sort of enforcement activity against mortgage fraud considering the trillions of mortgage dollars under their watch. However, I am not sure what ability they will have to undertake this responsibility.
Now its time to turn attention to state enforcement, to ensure they have adequate budgets to fight appraisal fraud.
Tags: Soapbox Blog, Appraisal Pressure, Mortgage Fraud, Redlining and Predatory Lending
This is a long time in coming but better late than never. Still these regulations need the teeth neccessary to avoid the possibility of the country facing a situation similar to the Savings and Loan debacle which led to appraiser licensing in the late 80’s. Even after licensing was put into effect I remember, as a new appraiser, the pressure placed on me to “bring deals in” during the height of the real estate boom which was the precursor to the real estate bust of the 90’s. This pressure from lenders, primarily mortgage brokers, caused me to leave several appraisal firms in order to keep my integrity. Although I don’t think we will see anything as pernicious as those days again one thing I am sure of – when one does not learn from it – history repeats itself.
The all-encompassing question here is “Who will mind the minders?” Government-backed agencies like Fannie and Freddie, do need to have more Federal oversight and monitoring to make sure we don’t repeat the S&L crisis of the 90s.