OCC planning supervisory steps to address discrimination through low appraisals

Enhancing supervisory methods for identifying discrimination in property valuations, and taking steps to ensure that consumers know their rights regarding appraisals, are among the actions the regulator of national banks plans to take in coming months to address discrimination through low appraisals, the agency’s leader said Wednesday.

In a statement, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu also said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) would also support research that “may lead to new ways to address the undervaluation of housing in communities of color caused by decades of discrimination.”

Hsu’s comments were prompted by the release of the Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) Task Force Action Plan, which addresses and corrects mis-valuations of residential property for families and communities of color. PAVE is an interagency task force which includes all five federal financial institution regulators and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The action plan, according to the OCC, describes both the actions taken during the last six months by its 13 federal agency and office members, and the commitments made by the task force members to combat this problem that has long infected the home mortgage origination process.

“Racial and ethnic biases have no place in the appraisal process,” Hsu said. “The OCC is committed to using our supervisory authority to advance racial equity consistent with our mission to ensure our regulated institutions provide fair access to financial services and treat customers fairly.”

Hsu also said he has made reducing inequality a top priority for the agency.

Acting Comptroller Issues Statement on Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity