Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Making the papers again...

My workplaces made the industry news as a part of The value of valuation.

ValEx gets a mention with

While traditional valuations continue to play a large role in the loan application process, the valuation industry is undergoing some very significant technological changes that make the valuation process faster, much to the benefit of both brokers and borrowers.

Three big changes have altered the valuation landscape in the last few years: the establishment of LIXI standards, the introduction of exchanges and the growing acceptance of automatic valuation models (AVMs).

The introduction of web services technology that will enable lenders and valuers to exchange information in XML format has slowly been making inroads into the industry.

LIXI, the Lending Industry XML Initiative, has been actively promoting this method of communication. While valuation organisations seem keen to implement the standard, lenders have been slow to come on board, says Andrew Duerden, national sales and business manager at LoanWorks Technologies.

"There seems to be a bit of pull and push at the moment," he says, adding that legacy issues for lenders may be impeding their participation.

"They're running systems that are 10 if not 20 years old and to change this stuff to support new standards that are based on new technology is probably not a small task for them."

The second big change sweeping through the valuation industry is the establishment of valuation aggregators or exchanges.

Exchanges house a number of smaller valuation firms that have a broad geographical reach. Exchanges are advantageous to lenders in that they allow them to deal with one entity using the same automatic process.

The Valuation Exchange, which was formed in 2005, grew out of Megaw & Hogg National Valuers.

"We saw in Megaw & Hogg the need to change the way that valuations were being delivered to mortgage lenders, because mortgage lenders were looking for a much more streamlined approach," says Andrew Robertson, Valuation Exchange CEO. "So we saw [this] as an opportunity to provide valuations back to the lenders still from a wide variety of different valuation firms but on a consistent streamlined technology platform that would be much closer to the goal of straight through processing."

Individual valuation firms, particularly the larger, national companies such as WBP and Megaw & Hogg have spent considerable amounts of money on IT to speed up processing.

"We have to as an industry," says Megaw & Hogg's Guthleben. "We have to stay in touch with our client's requirements and change with them otherwise we become irrelevant to our client. So you need to adapt and continue to invest in IT and stay absolutely focused on quality and compliance - that's where my money's been going."

Sweet; job security!

ANZ invests in ValEx.

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