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Seniors place ethics above expertise among trust factors for professionals

National Mortgage Professional
Mar 24, 2014

Seniors place ethics above expertise among trust factors for professionalsMortgagePress.comfinancial professionals, commissions, local bank representative, healthcare representative

Whom do seniors trust and why? According to the 2007 Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey, the fourth annual survey from Financial Freedom (a subsidiary of IndyMac Bank FSB), being an expert in a field just isn't enough. Professionals can't rely on their company's brand name or a personal referral if they hope to establish trust with a senior. While important, these factors ranked less important than seniors' perception of professionals' good character or ethics.

"These findings underscore what we have been preaching to reverse mortgage originators and other financial professionals for over a decade--to gain acceptance among seniors, it's crucial to demonstrate integrity across the entire enterprise from point of contact to products to servicing," said Michelle Minier, CEO of Financial Freedom. "It's why Financial Freedom and the industry have built important senior safeguards into products, like required counseling, enhanced disclosures and ensuring that seniors retain title to their homes."

The survey found that seniors seem to be less trusting of financial professionals in general, especially those whose compensation is tied to commissions. When asked how much they trust the financial professionals with whom they work, only 23 percent indicated that they strongly trusted their professionals and that was because of long experience with them. The majority (63 percent) of seniors indicated a lack of trust in financial professionals with 33 percent responding that they neither trust nor distrust and 30 percent responding they only somewhat trust financial professionals. Although the amount of trust varies by profession, this is illustrated by seniors' ranking of financial and other professionals on a provided list.

Looking at just financial professionals, 53 percent of seniors indicated they trust, somewhat trust or very strongly trust their local bank representative, followed by their accountant (44 percent) and healthcare representative (38 percent). Realtors, stock brokers and Mortgage Brokers, all of whom work off commissions, finished last. The breakdown of financial professionals is below:

-Local bank representative: 53 percent
-Accountant: 44 percent
-Insurance representative: 35 percent
-Lawyer: 33 percent
-Fee based financial advisor/planner: 30 percent
-Realtor: 25 percent
-Commission based stock broker/financial consultant: 21 percent
-Mortgage Broker: 18 percent

When asked about other professions with whom they interact, seniors indicated that they trust doctors, nurses and veterinarians the most. Politicians finished last, garnering just five percent of seniors' trust. The breakdown of non-financial professionals is below:

-Doctor: 89 percent
-Nurse: 86 percent
-Veterinarian: 81 percent
-Priest, minister, rabbi or other religious guide: 73 percent
-Policeman: 70 percent
-Plumber or carpenter or other similar tradesman: 51 percent
-Auto mechanic: 49 percent
-Politician: five percent

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Mar 24, 2014