This past year has brought many exciting, new changes and challenges to the Board’s Standards and Enforcement Services Division (TALCB SES). Below is a summary of what we have been working on.
Reduced Complaint Resolution Time and Prioritization
In 2019 the Agency went through the Sunset Commission’s review process, which culminated in new management directives for complaint processing and legislative changes (via SB 624), which took effect September 1, 2019. Sunset provided two key directives for complaint processing. First, Sunset tasked us with resolving complaint cases quicker. Although we have been meeting the Appraisal Subcommittee’s federal mandate to resolve cases within 1 year, Sunset has set a new goal of resolving complaints within 6 months, on average. Second, Sunset directed the Board to prioritize cases that present a high risk of consumer harm.
Board staff has been diligently working to implement these new directives, including passing new rules and hiring additional staff. To reduce turnaround times, we have hired 1 new attorney, 1 new appraiser, and 1 new legal assistant. We also have a current posting for a commercial appraiser.
In order to prioritize high-risk cases, the Board passed new rules identifying high-risk cases as those that involve serious deficiencies, such as fraud, ethics violations, or gross negligence. We have also developed a high-risk team, which is comprised of 1 attorney, 1 investigator and 1 legal assistant, whose primary focus is to address high-risk cases quickly.
We understand that the complaint process can be complicated. We have published a new Complaint Processing Handbook and a YouTube video to help people understand the process and answer common questions.
Experience Audits and New Audit Tracker Tool
In May 2018, the Appraiser Qualifications Board (“AQB”), which sets the nationwide licensing criteria for appraisers, reduced the requirements for obtaining an appraiser license, which resulted in increased application volume and experience audits in Texas. In fact, the number of experience audits increased by 47% over the past two years. To reduce audit processing time, the agency has hired new staff and contracted with thirteen independent review appraisers. The agency continues to monitor results in this area and make adjustments where needed, including providing new tools and streamlined procedures to improve the application process. Earlier this year we converted to an all-electronic submission process to minimize the inconvenience to applicants submitting files for audit. In addition, the agency plans to launch its improved application tracker in November, allowing applicants to see the status of their experience audit online. Stay tuned for more information on this new audit tracker tool. We are committed to reducing processing times, simplifying the process and providing technology-driven, self-service tools.
New Rules for Education Providers
You may have heard that TALCB SES is now responsible for investigating complaints filed against appraiser education providers. Rule 153.41 was approved by the Board last year and became effective September 1, 2019. You may also want to participate in our Facebook Live where we dive into this important topic. More on that to come soon! Be sure to sign up to receive emails on events so you don't miss out!