The Project: Automatically sifts through data in commercial loan applications in order to weed out poor candidates.

The Payoff: Cut costs by $20 million a year over two years.

Long bogged down by the complexity of real estate loan applications, GE Commercial Finance (GE ) can weed out the least promising ones, thanks to a Web analysis tool called REsource. Loan officers, who are on the road up to 60% of the time, log on to get constantly updated information about mortgage rates and loans. GE says the two-year-old system has saved $20 million -- more than paying for itself. It helped double annual sales volume, to more than $800 million, since 2000, while staffing stayed flat. Next step: extending REsource to GE's other businesses.

By Diane Brady

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