Clay Gregory is a Valley home appraiser who is spending a lot of time at home these day, but it's not by choice.
"I was put in a position where they pretty much demanded information from me or they were threatening me not to use me anymore," Gregory said.
Gregory claims he's been blacklisted by Chase Bank, making it extremely difficult to find work.
The appraiser told CBS 5 News that Chase sent him a letter a couple months ago demanding data on an old appraisal and citing possible violations.
Chase apparently needed information on the home which they were buying back from a foreclosure.
The only problem was Gregory would be breaking state and federal law by sharing info with Chase because the bank was not the one that hired him.
A number of new laws were put in place in 2009 to prevent conflicts of interest between lenders and appraisers to help avoid another housing crisis.
"It doesn't matter at Chase," Gregory said. "They want what they want and if they don't get their way they put you on an ineligible list."
Gregory opted to follow the law and now, instead of appraising eight to ten homes a week, he'll visit maybe two.
Another Valley appraiser John Dingeman is facing a similar situation.
His letter from Chase arrived a couple weeks ago, stating that Dingeman had 21 days to respond to questions about an old appraisal or he would find himself on the ineligible list.
"Appraisers are losing revenue, losing livelihood," Dingeman said. "It's defamation of business character. If they did a bad appraisal, that's one thing, but for someone like me that follows the letter of the law, to place me on ineligible list so I can't work - that's just wrong."
CBS 5 News has learned Gregory and Dingeman aren't the only home appraisers being threatened and intimidated and Chase isn't the only bank trying to push appraisers around.
"Appraisal problems with lenders have been going on ever since I've been in business," said Dan Smith, who teaches an ethics and standards appraisal certification course in the Valley.
Smith speculates that banks may be bullying appraisers to save time and not go through proper channels to obtain the information they need.
There's also the possibility they simply don't want to hire the appraisers themselves and pay them their $300 to $400 fee.
Then there's the question about the banks, knowing they're breaking the law.
"They all have legal departments - they all have regulatory compliance officers and employees," Smith said. "I think they know."
The director of the Arizona Appraisal Board told CBS 5 News that he is aware of the black list, but they have no jurisdiction over banks and lenders.
CBS 5 News plans to turn its investigation over to the state attorney general's office this week to see if there is anything officials can do to hold these banks accountable for their actions.
CBS 5 reached out to Chase Bank and gave them three days to respond to the allegations.
They sent a statement that said, "Chase periodically reviews appraisals to ensure they comply with federal and state requirements. If an appraisal fails to meet certain quality control standards, we may seek additional information."
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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