Is our romance with mortgage lenders about to end?


For a while there we Americans were crushing our mortgage companies hard. They told us about the forbearance programs during the pandemic, were kind in helping some of us renegotiate (and refinance) our mortgages, and remained open throughout COVID-19, even though the Most of their employees worked from home.

According to Jim Houston, director of consumer loan intelligence at JD Power, “Mortgage agent satisfaction has been bolstered by the industry’s response to the pandemic, some of the biggest gains in customer satisfaction. being attributable to at-risk and moderate-risk clients who participated in the forbearance programs. “

Industry-wide, mortgage services have received high praise throughout the worst of the pandemic. Today it seems that we are cooling off somewhat. According to the latest JD Power 2021 US Mortgage Agent Satisfaction Survey, people don’t like traditional mortgage lenders as much as they used to.

And as Houston describes it, “When we look at the behaviors of post-pandemic customers and the responses of low-risk customers, we find that the increase in satisfaction can be short-lived. In fact, despite the attention paid to relief programs, nearly a fifth of current mortgage clients have had no interaction with their manager in the past year. Mortgage managers will really need to improve their customer engagement games as the market stabilizes. “

Learn more: How to refinance your mortgage

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Who is outside and who is inside

Like a comfy pair of socks, traditional lenders like banks and credit unions remain helpful, but no longer provide the thrill they once did. It’s the fintech mortgage lenders like Rocket Mortgage that grow people’s hair back. In fact, Rocket Mortgage was the highest ranked mortgage service provider in the JD Power study, beating the closest competitor by 35 points (out of 1,000).

According to Houston, customer satisfaction is increasingly high among non-bank lenders. “What we’ve slowly seen is that non-traditional fintech lending institutions are doing better.”

It is important to note that banks have traditionally enjoyed the highest levels of satisfaction and overall are still doing relatively well. Customers may have appreciated them more in the worst of the pandemic than they do now, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad news for traditional lenders. Many take a closer look at fintechs and find out what non-traditional lenders are doing to get people excited.

On the one hand, it’s easy to see that customers appreciate instant gratification. A home buyer can decide to buy or refinance a home and almost immediately have a loan decision in hand. Rather than sitting down with a loan officer in a traditional lender’s office, a home buyer can do it all online or from a smartphone. And it makes customers happy.

Learn more: How to buy a house

Here’s why relationships get sticky

While many homebuyers seem to prefer the DIY nature of borrowing over a fintech, in their hearts it’s customer service that they need.

“Customers say that even in distress, they appreciate the opportunity to interact with a lender. They want a lender who empathizes with the borrower’s situation and offers solutions that work,” Houston said.

So what is it ? Do homebuyers want technology or do they want customer service? It seems the magic bullet could be a mix of the two – a lender that provides compassionate customer service and innovative 21st century technology.

If a mortgage lender asked Jim Houston how to build the perfect, customer-service-centric company, he would have a ready answer. “My recommendation is to create an environment where a borrower feels like family, and you take care of them like family.”

And if being part of that family includes access to the best technology available today, it’s likely to be a loving connection.

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