CUNA backs GSE appraisal modernizations, housing goals

March 1, 2021

CUNA submitted two comment letters to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Friday, one on Fannie and Freddie appraisal policies and the other on Fannie and Freddie’s housing goals.


FHFA is seeking input on the current appraisal policies, practices, and processes, especially as they relate to modernizing the appraisal process and balancing mortgage lenders’ need for efficiency with the GSEs’ need for prudent risk management.

CUNA supports the agency’s effort to assess and modernize the current GSEs’ appraisal policies, practices and processes.

“During this process, we recommend the FHFA consider the importance of permitting new valuation solutions – including virtual walk-throughs with local real estate agents or another qualified individual – that could beneficially augment traditional approaches to appraisals,” the letter reads. “Adopting modern appraisal solutions that leverage ubiquitous, improved technologies would greatly benefit rural areas that deal with unique challenges with traditional in-person appraisals.

“We also encourage the FHFA to revise its education and training requirements for new appraisers with an eye toward increasing the pool of individuals entering this critical vocation,” it adds.

Housing goals

CUNA strongly supports the FHFA’s efforts to ensure that the GSEs meet their public mission and responsibilities to low-income and very-low income borrowers and communities.

“This support is consistent with CUNA’s housing finance reform principle, which include ‘[a]n emphasis on affordability, in recognition of the fact that smaller lenders, such as credit unions, often meet mortgage needs that banks are unwilling or unable to address in rural and working-class communities,’” the letter reads. “Credit unions’ commitment to this lending is illustrated by data showing that in the first three quarters of 2020 alone, credit unions originated $210 billion in first lien mortgages, which translates into $280 billion on an annualized basis. In total, credit unions sold $86.4 billion ($115 billion annualized) in first lien mortgages on the secondary market - an amount equal to 41% of the total originated.”