Banking Agencies Issue Expanded Guidelines on Sub-Prime Lending

Banking Agencies Issue Expanded Guidelines on Sub-Prime Lending

November 18, 2001

Keep ACE up your sleeveJosh SchulmanACE, appraisals, real estate
In the early 20th century, Henry Ford made owning an automobile
a possibility for every family in the country through his
innovative system of assembly-line production. A few decades later,
McDonald's incorporated this system with its method of franchising,
not only inventing "fast food," but also making it available
worldwide. It is hard to argue with proven success; America's Cutting Edge
Real Estate Inc. (ACE) understands this. While traditional
appraisers are constantly being slowed down by excessive paperwork,
travel time and red tape, ACE is in the process of transforming the
traditional appraisal industry. By allowing appraisers to just do
what they do bestappraise propertyACE saves the appraiser precious
time by applying the assembly-line technique to the appraisal
process. With each step of the system performed by a trained
individual with particular expertise, the ACE Operations Center
manages each task and efficiently finishes each appraisal in 24
hours or less from the time of inspection. And by allowing
appraisers to own their own ACE franchises, they have the entire
country as a potential market. ACE currently has company-owned
units in metropolitan New York, with franchise operations in New
Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas.
ACE appraisers show up to the customer's house dressed in
professionally-designed career apparel. When a client contacts the
Operations Center, he or she will speak with a trained customer
service representative, closely monitoring every order. While the
appraisers are in the field, dispatchers keep in touch with the
homeowners and real estate agents, tracking assignments and setting
appointments for the appraisers. A team approach is used throughout
the system as appraisers and their assistants deploy from the
Operations Center. ACE appraisers are equipped with a
state-of-the-art mobile office unit converted using ACE custom
specifications. Each van has a dual battery system to prevent
charging problems, an 800 watt inverter that is strong enough to
run a microwave, cameras, Global Positioning Systems, cell phones,
a printer, a scanner and a wireless Internet connection. Tie it all
together with a full-service review department that interacts with
the appraisers, underwriters and loan officers, and the result is
speed, quality and consistency. The ACE management team is led by
the three original founders, including Maria Sonner, president and
chair; Michael Reilly, VP of franchise sales and managing partner;
and Daniel DeMonte, VP of national sales and managing partner. They
have dissected, re-created and validated one of the quickest and
most efficient appraisal systems in the country, and created a
multi-state presence in only four years.
In the last 12 months, they have added some of the best industry
talent in the country, including Don Martin, ACE CEO, who has been
a franchise executive for more than 25 years. As executive vice
president, Mr. Martin directed field operations for Century 21
Headquarters, also serving as chairman of the C-21 Relocation
Network. ACE COO Thomas Sullivan worked as COO of Roslyn National
Mortgage Corporation, and was later promoted to CEO in 1999 as one
of the top young executives in the mortgage banking industry. Mike
DuBritz serves as the company's chief information officer and has a
significant background in the high technology side of the mortgage
banking industry. Sean Kiernan rounds out the group as chief
appraiser with more than 20 years of experience in the real estate
industry. Each member of the team contributes their diverse
backgrounds to make the company the success that it is.
I have worked with ACE for three years, says Ruben Loffriado the
Chief Credit Officer of Columbia Equities Limited. Their name says
it all. They provide impeccable service, they do not sacrifice
integrity, and they are just a great asset for mortgage originators
to have. They help us stay ahead of the competition.
Don Pace of American Home Mortgage shared his impressions of
ACE. I met them approximately two years ago, and I tried them later
that week. I have personally used them from that point forward. We
have a very good relationship with ACE, companywide. They are a
total full-service company, from their appearance to their
"As far as an appraisal company is concerned, the service side
is excellent," says Michelle Francis, vice president of Beachwood
Capital. "They work with us from start to finish, so when that last
house closes, we're not out of the market. They give us good, solid
indications up front, prior to opening. They've been an invaluable
If key influences, executives with broad financial experience
and old-fashioned technological know-how are all important aspects
of running a business, then ACE's current success is an indication
of even better things to come.