Bank of North Carolina Eases Appraisal Stress with Software

Article excerpt

Byline: Penny Crosman

Working too hard gave Craig Linville a heart attack, literally. Linville is vice president in the appraisal department of the Bank of North Carolina, High Point, N.C.

The $2.5 billion-asset bank doubled in size last year by purchasing two banks (one on the beach, one in the mountains) through FDIC-assisted buyouts. "That put a burden on a lot of us in the back room," Linville says. He was reviewing about 170 appraisals a month on an Excel spreadsheet he had created. "It reached a volume that wasn't working. I was working until 2:00 a.m. every morning trying to stay ahead of the game, and I get up at 5:00 a.m. to feed our horses, so I was getting three hours of sleep a night," he says. "I had a heart attack from the stress."

He started researching appraisal review programs and selected software from ValuTrac that could automate commercial and residential real estate evaluations. "That saved my life," he says.

The software enables several types of time savings. Loan officers who request an appraisal enter the information into the program. Linville receives notice of the order and clicks on an appraiser on the bank's approved list within the right zip code or county - previously he had to look up appraisers' geographic regions of coverage. The appraiser accepts the order with a click, saving Linville a phone call to the appraiser to see if he's willing to accept the order. The appraiser's license and errors and omissions insurance information is automatically updated by the appraiser, removing one more worry for Linville.

"It works so well that at our last audit, the auditors had zero questions, and that's kind of unheard of in our industry," Linville says.

The software takes care of a compliance issue. Dodd-Frank rules dictate that loan officers can have no part of an appraisal order and may not know which appraiser is involved. …