Yesterday, NCUA issued Legal Opinion Letter 08-0129 (February 8, 2008). You may access it here. I find the letter interesting for a few reasons.
First, any legal opinion letter sheds light on an issue, and therefore should clarify some confusion. This letter clarified that credit unions are not required to have a checklist or narrative to document its review of a real estate appraisal. NCUA guidance issued in 2005 indicated that credit unions should do so. NCUA's letter notes the practice of using a checklist or narrative "although not required,...is recommended in interagency guidance."
Second, this legal opinion letter sheds some light on agency recommendations. The recommendation to use a checklist or narrative was issued via a Letter to Credit Unions in 2005. NCUA's legal opinion letter clarifies that, if push comes to shove, credit unions do not have to follow that guidance.