WASHINGTON -- The Independent Bankers Association of America praised the regulatory agencies for finally adopting what it called a reasonable appraisal rule.

By raising the minimum level at which banks must obtain certified or licensed appraisals for loans secured by real estate, to $250,000 from $100,000, the agencies have improved credit availability and affordability for consumers and small businesses, the association said.

The higher minimum eliminates time-consuming and costly appraisal requirements without threatening safety and soundness, the group said in a press release.

"It took awhile, but the regulatory agencies have finally done the right thing," said IBAA president John Shivers, chairman, president, and chief executive of Southwest Bank, Fort Worth.

Appraisers have criticized the new rule, saying it would impair the quality of appraisals.

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