For this week’s episode of LLL, Alayna sits down to talk with Steve Sussman, Chief Business Development Officer with Nationwide Appraisal Network (NAN), about the world of appraisal, the importance of data, and the value of accountability.
Data makes everything better. You can measure things, quantify them, see areas where you and your processes could improve, according to key KPIs. But data needs to be combined with an extraordinary quality of service, or else you will neither be able to implement changes nor maintain a relationship-focused business. It can’t be all about maximizing revenue. The point of leveraging data to increase accountability is to improve people’s experience of your business and incentivize good performance on the part of individual appraisers.
When Steve first started with NAN, he went on a road trip, talked to clients and lenders, and asked about people’s experiences with AMCs. He learned quickly that lenders have no qualms whatsoever about telling you how much they hate AMCs sometimes. All in all, he came back to his team and reported that the key factors where NAN could help the industry grow were transparency, accountability, and service.
So NAN developed a way of scoring appraisers based on lots of different metrics. Then they developed an algorithm that scores appraisers based on those metrics. After scoring, the program delivers a predictive report that can be applied to selecting which appraisers would be the best fit for the job. It adds a degree of data-driven meritocracy.
In any industry—appraisal being no exception—it can be divisive to talk about bias. Are people of color and other minorities kept from the best opportunity to build wealth in our nation, namely, owning a house? Well, yes—but almost never because of intentional bias. Steven clarifies that the main problems are actually unconscious bias and legacy practices that disproportionately affect values in neighborhoods of people of color. So NAN focuses on leveraging committees, data (of course), and open-forum discussions to produce what they call “equitable outcomes.” They’ve also launched a Spanish-speaking division to better serve underserved markets.
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