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AMC Money Monster

May 17th, 2016

Ibis Clear Capital.

Okay, relax: the name is Ibis Clear Capital, not Isis Clear Capital.  “Your friends” at the appraisal management company (AMC) Clear Capital have not been taken over by the world’s most reviled terrorist organization.  Ibis Clear Capital is the fictitious name of the evil, corporate monster in the newly released film Money Monster.

We also know what some of you are thinking and…we won’t go there…directly.  Let’s just say that we have been speaking out against greedy, corporate AMCs for many years and recognize similarities between the movie Money Monster and the too often vampire-like relationship that AMCs have with appraisers.

Directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, you would expect Money Monster to be entertaining but not requiring a degree in finance to comprehend; the movie meets both expectations.  Some moments that stand out:

~References to trades in “dark pools”-“concealed”.

~”We believe in complete transparency” says the CEO of Isis Clear Capital.

~Comments about whether the $800 million loss suffered by Isis Clear Capital was the result of a “black swan” type event, a computer “glitch” involving an algorithm or whether it had “human fingerprints” on it.

~”IBIS Clear Capital is a pig in a prom dress” says Julia Roberts’ character.

While we wait for Jodie Foster to complete Economics 102 and Appraiser 101 before working on her AMC/Appraiser movie, let’s check in on what 60 Minutes has been up to (*please see note at end of this report).

60 Minutes Drops in on Two AMCs. has received excerpts of the transcript from an upcoming 60 Minutes report in which two of their investigative journalists drop in (unannounced) on two AMCs.  Here is a transcript of this report, which is expected to air in September:

Scott Pelley: On May 4th, our correspondents visited the offices of two Appraisal Management Companies, or AMCs as they are commonly known by those in the appraisal and financial communities.  Most Americans outside of these two professions know nothing about AMCs and a Wikipedia search yielded the result “The page ‘appraisal management companies’ does not exist.  You can ask for it to be created”.

During the course of our investigation, we discovered that AMCs do, in fact, exist.  We also discovered that appraisers were not the ones asking for them to be created.  In actuality, most appraisers rue the day that AMCs came into their lives, stealing from them the fruits of their labor and leaving them with drastically reduced earnings along with additional workloads and petty annoyances.

We begin our report with Steve Kroft, who is visiting the offices of Opague Capital in Miami, Florida.

Steve Kroft: Good evening Scott.  In my 23 years as a 60 Minutes correspondent, I have never seen financial arrogance such as what is displayed within the offices of Opague Capital, not even during last year’s investigation of Congressional members using non-public information to benefit their market trading.

Arriving at the offices of Opague, at Noon after the holiday weekend, I managed to slip in through a side entrance.  Apparently my appearance in a suit and tie led several young employees to assume I was a member of management (who reportedly rarely leave the beach to come to the office).

Inside:  five young people were monitoring computer screens programmed to send out requests for appraisals which require instantaneous responses from the recipient appraisers throughout the country.  One of the employees commented to me about how amazing it was that we were able to get three appraisers to immediately agree to accept an appraisal assignment for $225 which involved a 20,000 square foot mansion on a ten acre waterfront property in the Hamptons on Long Island.  I nodded my head while I was trying to assimilate this information.  The young man took this as approval and laughing asked me how much our client was paying us to “manage” this job and appraiser.  I answered that I did not know and asked him if I could speak with the person in charge.

“John”, the young man, told me he figured he was in charge since he had seniority (six months with the company, after having been fired as a cook for “BeachBurger”).  He also became quite guarded at this point as he realized I was not part of the firm’s management.

While John was attempting to usher me out the door, I overheard another employee laughing about their phone system, which had one line which nobody ever answered or made outgoing calls from.  Apparently the business model that Opague Capital followed did not provide for any direct conversation with the appraisers who subcontracted to perform appraisals: all contact was by e-mail and through Opague’s website which apparently frequently crashed.

Scott Pelley:  Thank you Steve, this is a disturbing report.  We’re going to leave you now to speak with Lara Logan who is at the Los Angeles headquarters of a different AMC.

Lara Logan:  Hello Scott.  I’m not sure if I am actually at the headquarters of OutSource Appraisal Management since the address on the firm’s website is a Mail Boxes Etc. facility…

*The difficult situation that appraisers find themselves in due to the arrogance and business practices of many AMCs is worthy of a 60 minutes report, but the above is merely a spoof. Let’s hope that 60 Minutes will take a look at this and see that not only is it a terrible situation, but also a newsworthy one. Any appraisers who might like to contact 60 Minutes can do so by going to their website and making their ideas known: 60 Minutes Website

*This was originally published in on June 18, 2012.

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers support and grow their businesses. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we and our sponsors have to offer.

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If you’re looking to maintain or expand your mortgage appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start. Order it today at the reduced price of $49.99 and download it immediately!

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends reported falling mortgage interest rates last week.

In their survey on May 12th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 3.57% from 3.61% the previous week. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 3.85%.

Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac noted in the release that:

“Disappointing April employment data once again kept a lid on Treasury yields, which have struggled to stay above 1.8 percent since late March. As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 4 basis points to 3.57 percent, a new low for 2016 and the lowest mark in 3 years. Prospective homebuyers will continue to take advantage of a falling rate environment that has seen mortgage rates drop in 14 of the previous 19 weeks.”

The MBA reported on May 11th (for the week ending May 6th) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) declined, from 3.87% to 3.82%.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) moved downward from 3.79% to 3.74% while rates for FHA backed mortgages also fell, moving from 3.69% to 3.64%.

Mortgage applications moved up slightly (0.4%) from the previous period.  Refinance applications as a percentage of all applications moved down from 52.9% to 52.8%. The FHA share of applications dropped to 13.0% from 13.5% and the VA share rose from 11.5% to 11.7%.

On May 13th, Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates dropped from 3.70% to 3.68% and rates for FHA-backed mortgages also moved downward, to 3.52% from 3.53%.

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS – Freddie Mac

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site at: Research and Forecasts – Mortgage Bankers Association

Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

Ask Angie

Angie is back from her prolonged vacation on the campaign trail and offers the following quotes for your enjoyment.

Today’s Questions:

1. Who said: “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses a lamp post, for support rather than illumination.”

a) Andrew Lang
b) Lawrence Yun
c) Paul Ryan
d) Paul Krugman
e) None of the above

2. Who said: “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

a) Bob Vila
b) Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
c) Tim Allen
d) E. E. Cummings
e) None of the above

3. Who wrote: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

a) Hillary Clinton
b) Donald Trump
c) William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well
d) Hippocrates
e) None of the above

The first to respond with the correct answers win a choice of one of the following:

One Free Regular Listing on

A Free Copy of the 2015 Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available to Members of and FREE!)

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Appraiser Help has Released its 2015 Directory of AMC’s and National Appraisal Companies. Click the link above to learn more and to download your copy today!

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Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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