Appraisal Group sues Countrywide for Appraisal Pressure

An appraisal group in Idaho is suing Countrywide (now Bank of America) for intimidating appraisers and pressuring them to generate reports in line with Countrywide’s business objectives.

The suit alleged Countrywide used improper appraisal techniques that benefited the lender and punished those who did not participate by blacklisting individuals and companies; in turn, causing “substantial damage to thousands of appraisers,” in addition to distorting real estate prices.

“The integrity of real estate appraisals is more important than ever and time and time again Countrywide is showing its customers and partners that it only cares about profits and market control,” said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the firm representing the appraisers. “The bottom line is our nation’s at a breaking point where we can’t take anymore corporate dishonesty in the home market…”

According to Berman, if appraisers don’t “play ball” with Countrywide by producing a report affirming the appraisel value Countrwide expects, they’re blacklisted. The suit alleged, as of Aug. 28, 2008, more than 2,000 appraisers appeared on “the list.”

Countrywide was hardly the only lender to “blacklist” appraisers. And it will be interesting to see if other lenders are also sued for their “lists”.

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if a former employee from Countrywide produces a document of blacklisted appraisers/firms?


    I enjoyed and still enjoy working with Countrywide through Landsafe Appraisal Management. I am strong willed and just say no or turn down an assignment that looks suspicious. I have not always agreed with their system of a score card of perfomance and have called and said so. It is not how long you take to do an appraisal but if you do it correctly. The guidance I have received was honest and in no way pressure. I am sure I was blacklisted from time to time by branches who did not like my honest appraisals but the management company backed me up with work anyway. I can only speak for the business experience I have with Countrywide as others obviously have had a different one.

  3. Dave

    I was in the process of being relocated with Albertsons, now owned by SuperValu earlier this year. I was being moved from the Boise area to Arizona to take on a job with Supervalu. The relo benefit package was the traditional appraisal process, and I started to see a pattern of low ball appraisals that were coming in well below market value at the time for my house and location. My buy out offer was well below market value as a result of the appraisals my home recieved. Luckily my house sold and I did not have to take the buy out option. It sold for almost $20k more then the appraisal averages. I wonder if this Countrywide / B of A issue had something to do with my low ball appraisels?

  4. Phil Lewis

    My appraisal firm may have done one or two appraisals for WAMU and maybe five or six for Countrywide…I am so happy we did not do more.

  5. Mikki

    Is there anyone out there on Chase’s blacklist? I was put on black list in 2000 for a exterior only appraisal for a sale. House looked fine from the street, typical for the area. I also did a phone interview for any improvements etc. Well buyer got foreclosed on a year later and foreclosure appraiser for Chase reviewed my report and said I over valued the property because the floors were rotten and interior was in bad shape. Also I had a typo on a adddress. So I responded back which didn’t seem to matter. So I was put on their blacklist which has come back to bite me several times, why is it all other lenders think Chase is the god of lenders and use their list too. Anyway when I spoke with Chase to get off the list you have to have 5 appraisals go through their review consecutively. If one fails you start all over. Well none of the lenders I work with want to wait 3-4 weeks for that so they use someone else. Also I was refused on a AMG panel due to being on their list. Anyone out there with a similar complaint? I ready to do something because this is effecting my job. Thanks!

  6. I was blacklisted in Feb 08 and have been fighting ever since. I have written the president of Chase, the pres of the APM of Chase, the APM, met with branch managers, wrote news stations, wrote my governor and congressmen, lawyers, and filed a formal complaint with the US Dept of Treas OCC. Nada. No one seems to care. I was blacklisted for ONE REPORT due to a review filled with errors (like the city!) Things are more corrupt now than ever. HVCC and the AMCs do not help.