Magazine article American Banker

Realink.com Gets Infusion; Now to Sell the Tech-Wary

Magazine article American Banker

Realink.com Gets Infusion; Now to Sell the Tech-Wary

Article excerpt

Realink.com, a home appraisal technology company based in Phoenix, has raised $10 million in venture capital.

Insight Capital, a private equity investment firm specializing in business-to-business companies, provided the funding. Realink.com plans to use it for marketing, developing business relationships, and most important, to step up a technical training campaign.

That program is tied to Realink.com's efforts to promote automated appraisal, which lenders and appraisers alike have been slow to adopt.

Michael Schafer, Realink.com's chief executive, said getting a house appraised involves lots of back and forth by fax and phone -- thousands of man-hours that could be put to better use or eliminated by automation.

"The appraisal report is one of the choke points in the loan process, so speeding it up is important," Mr. Schafer said. "And lenders need to recognize that this is a key technology to reduce friction."

He said the chief benefit of automation is time saved; the appraisal can be shortened from one to two weeks to less than three days. Appraisers using Realink.com's software still have to visit the properties, but with the help of digital cameras and e-mail they can create their reports on computers.

One reason banks are clinging to red-tape-intensive mortgage procedures is because changing to new ones entails major cultural and operational changes.

"The mortgage industry has embraced loan origination systems, but it has been slow to adopt the appraisal process software," Mr. …

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