U.S. customer satisfaction with mortgage lenders improves

PROVIDENCE – Nationwide customer satisfaction with banks and other companies that originate primary mortgages improved this year, according to survey results released Thursday by marketing information services company J.D. Power.

The firm found that, despite a clear preference among customers for digital interaction at several points in the mortgage origination process, personal interaction with a representative still plays a key role in raising customer satisfaction, especially when it comes to quickly following up with a customer after an initial inquiry.

“The mortgage marketplace is changing rapidly as traditional players and new digital-native entrants ramp up their digital and mobile offerings,” John Cabell, J.D. Power’s financial services practice lead, said in a statement.

“While improved digital offerings are helping mortgage originators build customer satisfaction, it is important to find the right balance between digital, self-service offerings and personal interaction with a representative,” he added. “Technology alone is not a magic bullet in this market; the key is knowing where to leverage it and where to lay in more traditional forms of one-on-one support.”

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In the survey, the industry averaged a customer satisfaction score of 836 out of a possible 1,000 points. That was up from an industry average score of 826 points last year.

Topping this year’s survey was Detroit, Mich.-based Quicken Loans with a score of 876, followed by Madison, Wis.-based Fairway Independent Mortgage with a score of 873. Both companies do business in Rhode Island. They were the only two companies that made it into the “Among the Best” category.

The next tier – “Better than Most” – was led by San Diego, Calif.-based Guild Mortgage Co. with an 857 score; followed by Dallas, Tex.-based PrimeLending with an 850 score; Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America – Rhode Island’s largest consumer bank – with an 849 score; and Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based LoanDepot with an 847 score.

Other companies that scored above or at the industry average were Fifth Third Mortgage (843), CitiMortgage (840), and Caliber Home Loans (836).

Some notable industry names that scored below the average were PNC Mortgage (835), Chase (834), SunTrust Mortgage (827), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (817), PennyMac (812), BB&T (809), and U.S. Bank Home Mortgage (785).

Two other mortgage providers scored high but were not ranked because they did not meet the study’s criteria. They were Texas-based USAA with a score of 891 and Virginia-based Navy Federal Credit Union with a score of 888.

The study included more than a dozen other banks and companies that were not ranked because the number of completed responses for them was deemed not enough to compose a legitimate sample. Those included Providence-based Citizens Bank, the state’s second-largest consumer bank. In last year’s survey, Citizens scored near the bottom of the pack with 782 points.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.