Frictionless appraisal department

Friction can be defined as, “Conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments or opinions.” For those responsible for valuation in banks, the most obvious potential friction is lender pushback. Depending on the bank, many lenders really have no idea about the valuation. They just want to get their deal done. That can lead to frustration. Having to “deal with an appraisal.” Sometimes even after it’s been reviewed. Difference of opinion.

Distractions

The challenge for many appraisal departments is overwhelming work load. Volume spikes adds additional stress to the department. Other side distractions include valuation issues such as how to handle evaluations. This can lead to questions that might cause friction if policy doesn’t align with best practices.

How do other banks handle evals?

  • What constitutes a property too complex for an eval?
  • Should evals for income-producing properties have sales only, income only, or sales and income approaches? Who decides?
  • What about hypothetical conditions in evals, is it acceptable? 
  • Should our department be leveraging data from appraisals to help complete internal evals?
  • Can I order non-USPAP evals in the 11 states that allow it? Who will do them?

Frictionless banking on the retail side is meant to relieve the pain points for clients to get their banking needs met, including not having to walk into a branch bank. Consumers are looking for immediate convenience. Digital banking does provide convenient ways for their clients to bank, such as their cell. There’s some discussion of asking Alexa for details about your bank accounts. The retail side has lots of technology, why not your appraisal department?

Make your life easier

The shift away from face-to-face to digital options certainly results in the client getting what they want quicker, even after hours. Opening an account or applying for a loan without ever stepping into a bank. Consumers still want convenience and consistency. They look for a trusted advisor and as such bankers need to respond quickly. This more entrepreneurial attitude can lead to high-touch value such as concierge service levels. Basically, the goal is to make your client’s life easier.

Does your current appraisal workflow platform make life easier for you? Alternatively, does it cause your appraisal team friction? A workflow software platform should handle all the basics, such as super easy-to-use interface for lenders, a dashboard for job managers to see all appraisals in various stages, vendor management including grading appraisers and notifying when E&O or appraisal licensing expire, etc. A great workflow platform should allow you to handle 5x the workload with current personnel.

Deliver Success

A workflow system needs to integrate with your staff. Appraisal departments in different banks don’t all operate the exact same way. They perform similar functions but how people work, especially with a distributed workforce, one size does not fit all. The new way to think about your appraisal department is to seek out and implement the tools you need to reduce any friction. Move your appraisal department away from friction towards cooperation armed with data and performance benchmarks – hitting your service level agreements (SLAs) with a real-time appraisal dashboard goes a long way.

Just the right size

Customize your workflow to mirror the way you work now. An old workflow platform that doesn’t provide access to client success staff will not get you to the frictionless finish line. If your department does not have any automated workflow at all, consider that Outlook and Excel were designed as email (with calendaring) and spreadsheet, respectively. Zero valuation-specific workflow.

Seek out a solution designed by valuation experts that know what you need. How do you currently measure your provider? Can you get a hold of them? What’s your benchmark of success?

You work hard. Avoid experiencing conflict and animosity. Lower your stress. Be transparent. Be productive. Be happy.

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