Many hear the term ‘regulations’ and their initial reaction is boredom, confusion, or even anxiety. Andy is different in this way, he actually loves talking about, reading about, and staying up to date on the latest regulations when it comes to compliance. As our new Compliance Director, this passion is well fit. On his first week, we decided to sit down with Andy and learn more about his background, interests, and his outlook on the appraisal industry. Take a peek behind the curtain at MountainSeed, and see what we found out about Andy.
Welcome to the team! Can you kick us off by telling us a little bit about who you are and your background?
I started in the appraisal industry 15 years ago, as a trainee and eventually became a licensed field appraiser in Virginia and Maryland. Next, I was a bank appraiser dealing with field appraisals and reviews at World Savings Wachovia. Then I transitioned to Finiti, which is a joint venture between CitiBank and CoreLogic, where I reviewed and then moved on to vendor management. Finally, I became the National Director of Field Staff Appraisers. After a few years there, I went to another CoreLogic joint venture called STARS (Speedy Title and Appraisal Review Services). For about four years, I was their Senior Manager of Appraisal Reviews and Compliance.
What drew you towards a career in compliance and regulations?
I’m very detail oriented and like for things to be done right the first time. I don’t see compliance as something that sneaks up on people, but more of a partner in setting up compliant processes.
Most know that when they click a button or talk to an appraiser, they are doing it the right way just in case the institution did get audited. Then the bank or credit union doesn’t have to worry about back-end audits. So many see it as internal affairs and policing your activities, but I see it as a proactive way to establish compliant processes up front so everyone can go on about their business.
“You can’t keep your doors open without compliant processes so why not establish them correctly the first time around.”
What have you experienced throughout your career that brings extra value and expertise to the MountainSeed team?
Since I’ve worked in vendor management and with appraisers for so long I’ve dealt with on-boarding, off-boarding, and paying appraisers for years. I think vendor management is one of the most heavily regulated areas, and with my experience working for AMCs, I know the ins and outs.
I’ve also worked with large private banks in managing panels and the review process which has allowed me to see all sides of the puzzle. At more traditional high-volume AMCs, they are dealing with mostly residential appraisals and stick to the basics to make compliance clear and present. Because, whether you are processing 100 orders a day or five, your processes need to be compliant and scalable.
How’d you find out about MountainSeed?
I knew the MountainSeed name and understood they were predominantly a CRE company. The position was mentioned at the latest REVAA (Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association) meeting. Nathan spoke with the executive director and specifically mentioned we are looking for residential expertise, too. I took another look at the job description, and said this is exactly what I do! I was hooked when I found out it matched my skill set and allowed me the opportunity to grow my skills in the CRE industry.
But the first interview was what sealed the deal – MountainSeed’s core values aligned with how I run my personal life and seemed to be the perfect fit along with a great opportunity for growth.
What made MountainSeed’s culture different from previous positions?
Core values at other companies sometimes don’t hold up in practice. Instead of a trickle down, MountainSeed likes to work the opposite way. Nathan explained we want to be able to innovate, use the best practices, and if we can become the best practices for our clients.
There’s an ocean of opportunity at MountainSeed and I see them as ahead of the game in the appraisal management world because they are so diverse. It could make them one of the top competitors in the industry.
- What do you like to do in your free time outside of the appraisal industry and regulations world? My biggest hobby is playing banjo in a few bluegrass bands, which takes me on the road a lot. I also like to hike — just this summer I hiked Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
- What’s the biggest obstacle facing financial institutions today when it comes to appraisal management? The regulatory burden seems to be a difficult challenge for banks and credit unions to manage the appraisal process and I’ve seen first hand how challenging it can be.
- Which upcoming or recent regulations are the hottest topics for banks and credit unions right now? Indirectly I think AMC regulations are affecting banks and credit unions. The final rule on the AMC registry fee is being published, and federal minimum rules might hurt smaller AMCs because they won’t be able to afford the registration fees for their appraisers come July of 2018.
- Care to make any predictions on upcoming regulations that you think might come into effect soon? The only thing that never changes in the industry, is it’s always changing. I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next four years we see something new like the possible Dodd-Frank replacement.