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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Agencies defer real estate appraisals and evaluations affected by Covid-19

Federal Issues FDIC Federal Reserve OCC CFPB NCUA CSBS Covid-19 Appraisal Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Federal Issues

On April 14, the FDIC, Federal Reserve Board (Fed), CFPB, NCUA, and OCC (agencies), in consultation with the CSBS, issued an interagency statement addressing challenges related to appraisals and evaluations for real estate financial transactions impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement outlines flexibilities for physical property inspections and appraisals of residential properties underwritten to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (covered by InfoBytes here). The agencies also remind financial institutions of existing exceptions outlined in appraisal regulations previously issued by the OCC, Fed, and FDIC. “The agencies encourage financial institutions to make use of these exceptions,” the statement stresses. “The use of an existing appraisal or evaluation for subsequent transactions may be particularly relevant during the COVID-19 emergency.”

The same day, the OCC, Fed, and FDIC also issued an interim final rule to amend and temporarily defer interagency regulations that require real estate appraisals for certain transactions. Specifically, regulated financial institutions will be allowed to defer completion of appraisals and evaluations for all residential and commercial real estate transactions, with the exception of those involving the acquisition, development, and construction of real estate. Financial institutions will be allowed up to 120 days from the closing date to obtain the required appraisal or evaluation in order to expedite the liquidity needs of borrowers during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the OCC, Fed, and FDIC expect financial institutions to “make best efforts to obtain a credible valuation of real property collateral before the loan closing, and otherwise underwrite loans consistent with the principles in the agencies’ Standards for Safety and Soundness and Real Estate Lending Standards.” The interim final rule takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register and will expire December 31, 2020.