WASHINGTON -- A group of influential House Banking Committee members plans to offer legislation that would require appraisals for mortgage loans of less than $250,000 - the cutoff proposed by the bank regulators.
An aide to Rep. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the group, said the measure would require insured institutions to use a state-certified or licensed appraiser whenever an "estimate of value" for a property is made.
In theory, that would permit institutions to go without an appraisal, the aide said. "But if one is done, it has to be done by someone who knows what they are doing."
Rep. Schumer, joined by three other lawmakers, including banking panel Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez, D-Tex., plan to offer their legislation as an amendment to a housing bill. The other co-sponsors are Rep. Floyd H. Flake, D-N.Y., and Rep. Peter Deutsch, D-Fla.
At least one bank group promised to oppose the amendment vigorously. "This is a very big issue of us," said Stephen J. Verdier, lobbyist for the Independent Bankers Association of America.
Currently, appraisals are required for loans on property valued at $100,000 or more. The agencies have proposed raising that threshold to $250,000.
"We finally got the agencies to act," said Mr. Verdier, "and now they want to pull the rug out from under us."