NEW YORK-United Nations FCU can attest to the benefits of outsourcing to a third-party for mortgage appraisals and choosing the right company to do the work.

The $3.7-billion CU said that making the decision to outsource has led to a 90% improvement in appraisal quality, eliminated RESPA violations, and made members happier. "We went with Appraisal Logistics," said Birgitta Natale, mortgage operations manager. "Had we not outsourced, we would have had to add at least two, maybe three additional full-time staff."

Not only is the CU's workload lighter through outsourcing, but so is the anxiety level. "The company deals with any appraisal errors before the reports reach our desks," explained Natale. "We do not spend time making corrections or going back out to the property."

The costs for the service are passed onto the member and can run from $350 to $750 based on the state, Natale said. UNFCU also implemented a paperless mortgage appraisal process.

"Technology is a huge component of the process," explained Dennis Ashcroft of Appraisal Logistics in Annapolis, Md. "But it must be used in conjunction with experienced staff in order to get the kinds of results UNFCU has achieved. The staff have to be qualified in the appraisal industry. You can't put in the technology and hire a clerk to operate it."

Having skill in the mortgage industry is a key, as well, said Ashcroft.

"Everyone who works for our company has mortgage background, either in processing, loan origination, closing, underwriting, we even have appraisers," said Ashcroft, who added the company offers a great deal of compliance expertise.

"Many companies manage compliance in the appraisal area according to Dodd-Frank. We reach further than that and manage compliance issues according to interagency guidelines. We focus on taking the risk off the table for our clients in the ever-changing world of mortgage lending compliance. We want the credit union to have the time they need to manage their own internal processes and concentrate on what they do best, closing loans."

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the credit union industry

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.