Our time at Val Expo was truly enlightening! Through numerous conversations with appraisers, AMCs, regulators and technology providers, a recurring theme emerged: The industry is feeling the urgency and importance of quality background checks, especially given the surge of data collectors about to make their presence felt.

A recent example was highlighted by James Heaslet, Chief Appraiser at the Department of Veteran Affairs. At the VA’s Loan Guarantee Conference in early May 2023, Heaslet spotlighted a concerning incident involving a property data collector with a felony record. This individual, facing charges related to an armed robbery of over a million dollars, was engaged by a leading Appraisal Management Company (AMC) as a “data collection specialist”. The implications of such oversights are grave, potentially damaging the reputation of organizations involved and jeopardizing the safety and security of clients.20230427_012654000_iOS (1)

The May 2023 example is a stark reminder of why we need to continue to evolve our verification measures in our industry. Relying solely on one-time background checks is akin to basing today’s decisions on outdated intel. It’s like checking your car’s oil once and expecting it to run forever. Constant monitoring is extremely important to proper risk management.

In light of these concerns, the GSEs recently instituted a new policy requiring that data collectors undergo background checks annually. While this is a commendable step in the right direction, it still falls short of ensuring comprehensive safety. An annual review can miss significant changes in an individual’s record that might occur shortly after the yearly check, leaving nearly a full year for potential risks to go unnoticed.

The sentiments we shared with many of you at Val Expo solidifies our commitment to real-time vigilance through continuous monitoring. It’s heartening to see the industry embracing innovations that prioritize both safety and accountability.

As we brace ourselves for an industry in flux, it’s imperative to embrace and support practices that are not just reactive but proactive. Continuous monitoring isn’t just a fancy term for the future; it’s the pressing need of today. Here’s to setting new benchmarks and to the exciting journey ahead!