J.D. Power and Associates report: SunTrust Mortgage ranks highest in Primary Mortgage Origination Customer Satisfaction StudyMortgagePress.comJ.D. Power and Associates, SunTrust Mortgage, customer satisfaction, 2008 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study
In the current economic situation, improving the relationship
between loan officers and mortgage customers is critical to
customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates
2008 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.
The study measures customer satisfaction in four key factors of
the mortgage origination experience: Application/approval process;
loan officer/representative or mortgage broker; closing process;
and problem resolution.
The study finds that customers have higher levels of
satisfaction and are more committed to their lender when the loan
officer takes the uncertainty out of the mortgage origination
experience by setting expectations, proactively communicating and
maintaining personal contact with them during the loan process. For
example, customers have considerably higher levels of satisfaction
when their loan officer provides a time frame for their application
approval. Similarly, customers are more satisfied when status
updates are provided, last-minute requests for information are
limited, mortgage servicing options are discussed, and when loan
officers meet with customers in person and attend the closing. In
addition, customers who report being highly committed to their
lender as a result of a superior origination experience are two and
a half times more likely to recommend the lender to others and to
use the lender for another mortgage. These highly committed
customers also use twice the number of additional financial
services with their lender, on average, compared with customers
with lower commitment levels.
"Many customers blame financial institutions for the current
economic situation, and many also have doubts about their futures,"
said Tim Ryan, director of the financial services practice at J.D.
Power and Associates. "In such an uncertain environment, it becomes
especially important for lenders to re-establish trust with
customers through the loan officer relationship. About one-half of
mortgage customers express some level of doubt about whether their
loan representatives are acting in an ethical and honest manner and
in their best interest, which indicates an opportunity for higher
levels of satisfaction through an improved customer-lender
SunTrust Mortgage ranks highest among primary mortgage lenders
with a score of 790 on 1,000-point scale, performing particularly
well in two factors driving satisfaction: application/approval
process and closing process. National City Mortgage (788) and
Wachovia (786) follow SunTrust Mortgage in the rankings. National
City Mortgage performs particularly well in the loan
officer/mortgage broker factor.
Despite increased doubts about the financial market and mortgage
lenders, the study finds that mortgage customers are more satisfied
overall in 2008 compared with 2007, with the industry average
increasing slightly, to 757, which is up 7 points from 2007.
Improvements are evident in several key performance measures: Fewer
customers report being asked for additional information after
submitting their application; more customers are being provided
with timeframes for application approval; and fewer customers
report that their closing costs are higher than originally
"The increase in overall satisfaction can be attributed, in
part, to lower customer expectations," said Ryan. "After hearing so
much bad news throughout the industry, customers have come to
expect less from their lenders, so they are often pleasantly
surprised when those expectations are met or even exceeded. At the
same time, lenders are more diligent in delivering the elements of
the experience that drive satisfaction."
The study also finds that customers can improve the quality of
their experience when obtaining a mortgage by keeping the following
guidelines in mind:
• As part of the selection process, ask whether the loan
will be sold or its servicing transferredand if so, how billing,
payment, and escrow management might be affected.
• Ask for a full explanation of the entire process from
application to closing (e.g., what the steps are, what will be
required, expected timeframes).
• Discuss the initial estimate of closing costs in detail,
and determine which of the costs could change and why.
• Request updates or status reports at key junctures in
the processfor instance, when preliminary approval has been given
or when the appraisal is complete.
• Prior to closing, ask to review and get an explanation
of the following: the closing document; final closing costs; and
billing and payment options.
"Satisfaction is a two-way street, and customers too often
underestimate how much they can contribute to a positive outcome
for themselves," said Ryan. "Following these five simple steps can
lead to a more satisfying mortgage origination experience."
The 2008 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study is
based on responses from 4,256 consumers who originated new
mortgages within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded in
For more information, visit www.jdpa.com.