Acting comptroller links rooting out appraisal bias to more equitable housing finance system

Addressing appraisal bias will build a more equitable housing finance system for all Americans, the acting comptroller of the currency told a Washington audience Tuesday.

“By rooting out bias in the appraisal system, we can expand homeownership and wealth creation opportunities to all Americans,” said Michael Hsu, acting leader of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Speaking at the fourth hearing of the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) on appraisal bias in Washington, D.C., Hsu said that expanding access to homeownership means addressing bias in the appraisal of home values. “The OCC recognizes the value of our collective efforts to increase the diversity of appraisers, reduce barriers to entry into the appraisal profession, and address challenges within existing standards for appraisal reports.”

Tuesday’s hearing focused on understanding the challenges and potential solutions related to appraisal bias. The three previous hearings (in January, May and November of last year) delved respectively into root causes appraisal bias, the appraiser profession (including standards, qualification criteria, profession barriers to entry, and practices), and development and review of appraisal standards.

The ASC is a subgroup of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), the umbrella group for all federal financial institution regulators. According to the OCC, the ASC oversees the real estate appraisal regulatory framework for federally related transactions and provides federal oversight of state appraiser and appraisal management company regulatory programs.

Acting Comptroller Discusses Appraisal Bias