Local Appraisers Endorse Merger of 2 Organizations

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City appraisers have enthusiastically endorsed decisions by the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers to merge into a new organization called the Appraisal Institute.

The merger would make the Appraisal Institute the largest appraisal organization in the United States, effective Jan. 1, 1991. Approval of the merger was completed by a vote of 76 percent of members of the American Institute, taken Sunday in Chicago. The Society previously approved the unification in January.

Representatives of Oklahoma chapters of both organizations plan to meet in Stroud today to begin working out plans for an orderly merger within Oklahoma, said Michael A. Cramer, president of Cramer and Associates. 4200 Perimeter Center Dr. Cramer also is president of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, and vice president of the local chapter of American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers.

"I feel good about the merger," he said.

"In preparing for the merger, the National Institute of Real Estate Appraisers voted to leave the National Association of Realtors two months ago," he noted. "The goal was to have the largest, most prestigious appraisal organization in the country."

The American Institute, formed in 1932, has about 22,000 members and the Society, formed in 1935 has 17,732 members. They are the two oldest of the nine national real estate appraisal organizations, Cramer said.

Local chapters have been given three years to complete their mergers, but Cramer said he anticipates Oklahoma chapters of the two organizations could have their realignment completed within a year. He speculated it would result in two chapters, one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa.

Cramer said the Society has three chapters:

- Oklahoma City, with 101 members.

- Tulsa, 75 members, David C. Roberson, president,

- Texhoma chapter of north Texas and southwest Oklahoma, 28 members, Charles W. Singleton, Lawton, president.

The American Institute has only one chapter in Oklahoma with 170 members. Its president is C. Dwain Bearden, owner of Bearden Appraisal Service Inc., 1601 Greenbriar Place in Oklahoma City.

"I am thrilled to death with the merger," he said. "We have been working toward this for 25 years.

"We have been fragmented. We have had dual efforts across the nation and here in Oklahoma in training and certification. There was confusion in the public about what designation should I look to for an appraiser.

"I belong to both groups," he said. "It is simple economics to me. I now have one set of dues to pay and half as many meetings to go to."

"I think Jan. 1 we will have two chapters in Oklahoma - Tulsa and Oklahoma City - and they will function as the Appraisal Instute in Oklahoma."

Bearden said a survey of members of both organizations nearing completion showed a majority favoring the two-chapter system for the state.

By a toss of a coin Tuesday, it was determined that the first president of the merged national Appraisal Institute will be the president-elect of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, Bearden said.

The new Appraisal Institute will award the certification designations of MAI or SRA, but will continue to recognize the qualifications of individuals holding RM, SRPA and SREA designations, previously awarded by both merging groups.

The consolidation of the two appraisal organizations is also being viewed with approval by members of other appraisal organizations.

"I think it is a good move and one of several consolidations that will come in the future," said Lonnie J. Stephens, president of the Oklahoma City Chapter of American Society of Appraisers. "I think we will end up with three major organizations. …

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