The 1989 banking reform law did not bring disaster on the real estate appraisal business after all.

The law's tighter requirements for appraisals on most real estate loans by federally insured financial institutions were widely expected to run up against a shortage of licensed or certified appraisers.

But industry trade groups now estimate that the supply of appraisers is adequate to meet the demands of regulations that take effect on Friday.

Donald E. Kelly, vice president of Washington operations for the Appraisal Institute, said the number of certified appraisers is approaching 66,000.

"No state has asked for an extension or waiver of the law, which is evidence to me that they all feel adequately supplied with appraisers," he said.

Similarly, the National Association of Realtors issued its count on Tuesday of 59,000 state-licensed or certified appraisers.

|An Adequate Supply'

"There now appears to be an adequate supply of licensed and certified appraisers virtually everywhere," said Norman Goldberg, 1992 chairman of the association's real estate appraisal committee.

The appraisal rule was mandated by the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act. Congress had concluded that gross overvaluations of real estate collateral were an underlying cause of the savings and loan industry collapse.

"There was a lack of accountability," Mr. Kelly, whose Appraisal Institute is the industry's predominant professional association, with 32,000 members. There were no regulatory agencies, he said, and no national standard of appraisal practice existed.

Agencies in Accord

Though some aspects of appraisal regulation vary by agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Resolution Trust Corp. all require certified appraisers on transactions valued at $100,000 or more.

The National Association of Realtors was one of several organizations that lobbied Congress for a delay on rules that were to have taken effect in July 1991.

Without the extension, said Mr. Goldberg, a Realtor and appraiser with H.E. Goldberg Realtors in Roseland, N.J., there would have been a "real problem" in some states. "The ability to underwrite mortgages would have been greatly impacted," he said.

A survey by the Realtors association at the end of 1991 turned up 18, 311 licensed and certified appraisers in 30 states. The total was considered inadequate.

"The numbers recorded by NAR really justify the fear that everyone felt at the thought of the first implementation date," said Larry Demarcay, the association's 1993 real estate appraisal chairman and an appraiser with Demarcay & Associates in Metairie, La.

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