Freddie Mac Calls Halt on New Loans From Appraiser BBG

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Freddie Mac (FMCC) is putting Dallas-based appraiser BBG on ice.

The government-sponsored enterprise will no longer accept new loans from the appraisal firm as it widens its internal investigation into potential mortgage fraud, particularly implicating Jon DiPietra, managing director of BBG’s New York office, who has been added to its “restricted vendor” list, The Promote reported.

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It’s unclear what led to the decision by Freddie Mac. BBG and Freddie Mac did not respond to requests for comment, and DiPietra could not be reached for comment.

DiPietra has organized financing for major New York City properties such as 7 World Trade Center, 650 Fifth Avenue and Hallett’s Point, according to the company’s website.

Freddie Mac has been cracking down on lenders recently, having halted all dealmaking with Meridian Capital Group in November 2023 over questionable loan information in originations tied to a broker at the firm. 

In 2022, Meridian was known for signing the most Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (FNMA) originations through lenders for the seventh year running. But the investigation could result in buybacks if it was proven that Freddie Mac loans originated beneath the government-sponsored entity’s underwriting standards, Commercial Observer reported at the time.

The inquiry led to a shakeup at Meridian, where CEO and co-founder Ralph Herzka was replaced by Brian Brooks in April as the investigation continued, according to Bisnow.

Not only that, but Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Justice have been cracking down on broker fraud across the country after buying back loans in which loopholes were exploited to the maximum benefit of the broker at the expense of taxpayers, The Real Deal reported.

And Freddie Mac has tightened its underwriting requirements and ensured all loan documentation gets delivered directly from borrowers to Freddie Mac lenders, without passing through a broker or correspondent in between, as CO previously reported.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.