Larry Woodall, CEO & Chief Appraiser
590 Colonial Park Drive
Rowell, GA 30075
It is my pleasure to provide the letter of reference to you to use at your discretion.
First Bank has assets of over $400 million with a loan portfolio exceeding $315 million. Over the past four to five years we’ve experienced significant growth in real estate secured lending. Today over 80% of our loan portfolio is secured by real estate of one type or another. This concentration forced us to evaluate our complete appraisal process. What we found was that internally, we lacked the expertise to comply with regulatory requirements.
For this reason, last fall we began an extensive search for a 3rd party solution that would not only give us separation from the appraisal process, but also provide the level of appraisal review expertise that we needed. That search resulted in us selecting ECS as our 3rd party appraisal manager in the spring of this year. We chose CES because they could provide a full slate of valuation services, they adopted our approved appraiser list in total, and we recognized the value of the staff’s appraisal experience.
Prior to initiating the new process, Larry Woodall personally flew to Texas to meet our lenders and our appraisers, ensuring that question were answered and concerns addressed. Still, there was , and to a lesser extent still is, pushback from both the lenders and the appraisers. Change can sometime be difficult. Larry and the others at CES have been great to talk through these issues and work with us to find a resolution.
I feel that we are now in a much more confident position when lending into the industry, and in a much better position defending these decisions when examined by our regulators. We do not regret our decision to partner with CES.