Mortgage Customer Satisfaction Increases as Lenders Adopt New Technology

Overall satisfaction with mortgage application-related activities is higher among customers who used digital communication

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

customer satisfaction survey(Nov. 16, 2015) /PRNewswire/ — Overall mortgage customer satisfaction has increased this year as lenders have focused on developing functional digital channels and improving operational efficiency, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study(sm) released today.

Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale, with the study measuring customer satisfaction with the mortgage origination experience in six factors:

  1. application/approval process;
  2. interaction;
  3. loan closing;
  4. loan offerings;
  5. onboarding; and
  6. problem resolution. .

Overall customer satisfaction with mortgage origination is up 7 points from 2014. The increase in satisfaction is driven by gains in the application and approval processes, influenced by improved perceptions of the speed of the loan process. When loans close earlier than promised, satisfaction is significantly higher, compared to when loans close as expected or when it takes longer than expected.

The study also finds that overall satisfaction with several mortgage application-related activities is markedly higher among customers who used digital communication channels versus those who communicated using mail and fax.

The links between the perception of mortgage processing speed and efficiency and overall customer satisfaction are particularly noteworthy in light of new TRID , a.k.a. “know before you owe” regulation, which went into effect in October 2015, which has the potential to increase the mortgage timeline and poses a significant challenge for lenders when serving home buyers across all generations, but could be particularly challenging when dealing with Millennials (ages 18-34) who are technically savvy, always connected to the Internet and noted as being capricious consumers.

“While a lot of effort has been placed on ensuring compliance with new regulations, it is imperative that lenders improve their education and communication about the impact of these changes or risk losing customers,” said Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power. “Effective communication remains one of the most important aspects of a satisfying mortgage experience, especially if the process is taking longer than it has historically. As the number of Millennial home buyers continues to rise, lenders must be ready to meet their expectations. This generation is highly digitally connected, so ongoing communication and transparency via the channels they prefer, particularly mobile, are vital.”

Following are some of the key findings in this year’s study:

  • Communication Impacts Satisfaction: Communication throughout the loan process mitigates dissatisfaction with a longer timeline. When the loan process takes more than two months, satisfaction is 686. However, when an accurate time frame estimate and proactive updates are provided in that same scenario, satisfaction is 859.
  • Millennials Seek Guidance: With Millennials now accounting for the largest share of loan originations over the last two years2, it is notable that nearly 4 in 10 (37%) millennial customers indicate that the origination process was not completely explained to them, and 58 percent indicate their options, terms and fees were not completely explained.
    Effective Loan Representatives are Vital: Those loan reps who engage customers, build trust and ensure that borrowers understand each step of the process can mitigate the negative impact on satisfaction due to missing closing dates (764 missed date/effective representative vs. 511 missed date/ineffective representative).
  • Loans are Closing Sooner: The percentage of applications and approvals that close earlier than promised has increased to 35 percent in 2015 from 31 percent in 2014.
  • Satisfying Experience Leads to Recommendations and Loyalty: Providing an outstanding mortgage origination experience can generate high levels of advocacy and retention. The study finds that 71 percent of highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 900 or higher) say they “definitely will” recommend their lender, and 76 percent say they “definitely will” consider reusing the same lender for their next home purchase. In comparison, only 5 percent of dissatisfied customers (scores of 699 or less) say they “definitely will” recommend and 8 percent say they “definitely will” consider reusing the lender.
  • 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Rankings
    Quicken Loans ranks highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a sixth consecutive year, with a score of 850, an increase of 15 points from 2014. Quicken Loans performs particularly well in all six factors. Fifth Third Mortgage ranks second with a score of 812, followed by Bank of America and BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust Co.) in a tie at 811 each.

The 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,666 customers who originated a new mortgage or refinanced within the past 12 months. The study was fielded in two waves: February – March and July – August 2015.

For more information about the 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, visithttp://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-primary-mortgage-origination-satisfaction-study

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Jeff Sorg

About the Author

Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, a Web-based vocational school founded in 1997 where he also serves as Corporate Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational instructor licenses in Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada and has authored numerous pre-licensing and continuing education courses. Sorg was awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center's CDEi Designation for distance education in 2008. OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.