Mortgage Choice's innovation in mobile loan applications

Mortgage Choice's innovation in mobile loan applications has just one glitch: approvals are always conditional on the valuation of a property.

A Sydney property valuation service, RPG Integrated Property Services, has moved to mobile devices and says it is well on the way to achieving what will be a system of firm loan approvals based on instant valuations.

RPG's founder and managing director, Ron Gedeon, says he has already revolutionised his own business by introducing PDAs — in RPG's case, Hewlett-Packard iPACs. Gedeon has doubled productivity and slashed costs by 30% since introducing the PDAs.

RPG conducts about 100,000 valuations a year for more than 30 lending organisations, including leading banks. To do so, 20 staff spend their days in the field, collecting information from residential and commercial sites they value.

In the past, they produced hand-written notes then returned to the office and used the office systems to check comparable properties. Office staff keyed in field data for the valuers. After gathering all the information, the valuation was typed, checked and sent to the client.

The smart devices have increased the number of valuations RPG staff do in a day from three or four to six or seven. Valuers enter information directly into their PDAs then transmit it to the office.

Gedeon says:"They can sign the data digitally, send it back to the office, where it is dropped into a template waiting for the manager to check it.

"Afterintroducing the PDAs, Gedeon was able to retrench most data-entry staff and a general manager who had been earning $100,000 a year. Valuers still need to do some work on office systems. Gedeon gives them the option of doing so from home or the office. He says: "They are not bound to come back. Some do, some don't."

He says his next step is to send the data directly to the bank, a project he is testing. He commissioned a developer to build the software his staff use. He says: "If we can dump the data directly into [the bank's] server, so it can't be manipulated, imagine the cost savings. The big four banks commission a million valuations a year, and currently, they are all re-keyed by the banks."

* RPG Property Services (RPG) merged with Australian Valuers Group to become AVG Valuers in 2010