WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 15 November 2012 — Overall customer satisfaction with mortgage lenders has reached its highest level in the past six years, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction StudySM released today.
For a second consecutive year, overall customer satisfaction has increased to 761 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2012 from 747 in 2011 and 734 in 2010.
This increase in customer satisfaction is driven by steady improvements related to transparency and communication. The study finds that during the past three years, lenders have improved in the areas of clearly explaining loan options and ensuring customers understand them; following up with customers in a timely manner after they complete their application; and proactively updating customers on the status of their application.
"Given the recent challenges across financial services, the highest-performing lenders in the 2012 study have reduced customer uncertainty and apprehension with greater transparency and communication regarding what to expect in the origination process," said Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "This increase in satisfaction is particularly impressive given the increasingly expanded origination timelines during the past year."
Further, there is a strong relationship between satisfaction with the origination process and the rates of customer consideration and usage of the same lender for refinancing. Among loan customers who have refinanced in 2012, only 40 percent cite price as their main reason for selecting their lender. Other reasons commonly cited for selection include an existing relationship; previously being a customer; and referrals.
"On the surface, most would assume that the interest rate is the primary factor in the decision-making process. However, lenders that enjoy high levels of repeat business are those that typically deliver high levels of satisfaction and don't necessarily offer the lowest rates," said Martin. "From the perspective of customers, peace of mind in the loan origination process is critically important, and selecting a lender with a slightly higher rate, but that provides superior customer service, may be worth the few extra dollars in their monthly payment."
The study measures customer satisfaction in four key factors of the mortgage origination experience: application/approval process; loan representative; closing; and contact.
Quicken Loans ranks highest among primary mortgage lenders for a third consecutive year, with a score of 817, and performs particularly well in all four factors measured in the study. BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust Co.) follows in the rankings with a score of 791, while U.S. Bank ranks third with a score of 784.
J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips for consumers when selecting and working with a mortgage lender:
- Research and understand the different types of loans available, and be sure to consider more than just the interest rate while shopping.
- Expect the mortgage origination process to take longer than it did a few years ago as a result of increased regulations and scrutiny.
- Some lenders offer special website access or mobile apps that enable you to keep up to date on the status of your application or manage your account. Ask your loan representative whether these options are available for your account.
- Make sure you fully understand the relationship you'll have with the lender you select. The mortgage origination company with whom you apply for your loan may not be the same company that ultimately services your loan.
- Inform your loan representative how you prefer to be contacted--e.g., via email, phone or mobile.
The 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 3,500 customers who originated a new mortgage. The study was fielded between July 31 and August 27, 2012.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, J.D. Power and Associates and Platts, a leader in commodities information. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
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