Troy-based J.D. Power released its 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, which found that despite high customer satisfaction marks for mortgage servicers industry-wide, non-bank lenders have overtaken bank-affiliated servicers in that department, largely due to digital solutions.
“Mortgage servicer satisfaction was buoyed by the industry’s response to the pandemic, with some of the biggest gains in customer satisfaction being driven by at-risk and moderate-risk customers who participated in forbearance programs,” says Jim Houston, director of consumer lending intelligence at J.D. Power.
“However, as we look at post-pandemic customer behaviors and responses of low-risk customers, we see that lift in satisfaction may be short-lived. In fact, despite the attention on relief programs, nearly one-fifth of current mortgage customers have had no interaction with their servicer during the past year. Mortgage servicers will really need to up their customer engagement games as the marketplace stabilizes.”
The overall satisfaction increased six points this year, the bulk of which came from non-bank servicers, increasing 17 points. Bank-affiliated servicers have traditionally performed better, but this year only saw an increase of four points.
At-risk customers were a key factor in the increase, as pandemic-related forbearances saw a 15-point year over year increase, while low-risk customers satisfaction dropped one point. Those who participated in forbearance programs gave an average score of 846 out of 1000, while those who never enrolled sat at 783, and 776 for those who were enrolled buy are not any longer.
Those who have mortgage-only relationships with bank-affiliated servicers had a score 55 points lower than those who use the servicer’s bank products as well, showing a disparity in satisfaction for mortgage holders specifically.
Digging through a servicers website to find critical information was another large factor, showing a 55-point decline in satisfaction when customers had to visit more than two webpages to find what they were looking for. Only 38 percent of customers were able to find the information within those parameters, showing a need digital and self-service improvements.
The study showed Detroit-based Rocked Mortgage (which includes Quicken Loans) was the highest rated servicer for the eighth consecutive year with a score of 860. Guild Mortgage in San Diego and Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio ranked second and third, with scores of 825 and 824 respectively.
The 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with the mortgage servicing experience in five factors: customer interaction; communications; billing and payment process; escrow account administration; and new customer orientation. The study is based on responses from 8,507 customers who originated or refinanced more than 12 months ago. It was fielded from March through May 2021.