Teamwork makes the Dream Work

Appraiser IQ can be significantly improved if bank and fee appraisers get together. Talk. Not email. Appraisers in and outside of financial institutions have been siloed for years. Alone at their desk with their keyboard, mouse and HP12c. 

As an appraiser, the most valuable skill to master for extraordinary results is collaboration.

It’s been about a decade since many chief appraisers talked to their fee panel. This is primarily due to very high work volume, static staffing and sometimes bank mergers. 

From the fee appraiser’s perspective, reading engagement letters with no client name just “Dear Vendor” makes them sad. Collaboration can open up new channels for improved communication. Communicating expectations will also result in more timely and higher-quality work product. 

Why getting together matters 

1. Boost morale 

2. Connect with others 

3. Increase retention rates 

4. Learn from each other 

5. Problem solve with velocity 

Better together 

The default setting of most appraisers is siloed. Think of Tom Brady practicing on a field by himself with no team interaction. The outcome will be less than stellar. Collaborating with his teammates creates synergy that results in championship teams. 

Dan Berenschot presented at a recent FIVA event regarding bank mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Berenschot coined the importance of “collaboration” in his quote below. 

“One word that can be in your mind every single day of your life and that word is collaboration. I’ve been a chief appraiser for 25 years and there’s not a week that I don’t call fellow chief appraisers to bounce things off.” 

Dan Berenschot MAI, AI-GRS Managing Director, Collateral Evaluation CBIC 

FIVA meeting video short

What we do as appraisers isn’t easy. It’s a cognitively demanding task to create solid valuations. Most times, we’re too busy to stop to improve how we create, manage or review the appraisal process. No time to sharpen the ax. 

Sense of true fulfillment 

Ideation is the creative process of generatingdeveloping, and communicating new ideas. Creative process seems outside of our typical lane but it’s critical to our productivity, effectiveness and job satisfaction. 

Generating – take an honest look at how you create and manage appraisal workflow. 

Developing – investigate software solutions and processes that can make a difference. 

Communicating – provide transparency for your firm or department. 

Produce massive benefits 

We all work with documents, usually appraisals. Technically we work with cross functional teams, external appraisers, internal and external reviewers. Consider video calls (not email) to “see” your collaborators, create relationships and facilitate appraisal workflow. 

“Face-to-face” talking also serves to create trust and builds relationships that leads to understanding. Appraisers that have frank discussions with reviewers learn what each other is trying to provide. Setting out clear expectations for one another can go a long way to moving the football. 

Using the right software tools to collaborate can also make a significant impact leading to successful outcomes.  The free flow of conversations facilitates understanding of both sides of the fence. 

What fee appraisers might not realize about their bank clients. 

  • Understand chief appraisers’ workload is excessive. 
  • Bank reviewers have to answer for their reviews. 
  • Having to meet C-suite boss’s production goals. 

What chief appraisers might not realize about their fee panel. 

  • “Low” fees discourage appraiser job satisfaction. 
  • Varied and voluminous engagement letters lulls appraisers to miss stated requirements. 
  • Reviewer emails (instead of phone call), slows resolution due to valuation nuances. 

Secret: Always ask, “How can I help?” 

In order to serve our clients more efficiently, there is one question that leads to best results. How can I help? This attitude can have a significant impact on your appraisal department and firm. It will create a culture of sharing, give back and openness to change. Teamwork makes the dream work.