With mortgage rates at record lows and loan modification activity at an all-time high, a new survey outlines the best mortgage servicers based on customer satisfaction.
Branch Banking & Trust was named the best mortgage servicer in the country with a score of 803 out of 1000, and has now been in this position for three consecutive years, according to a survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. However, the overall level of satisfaction toward the industry is still well below where is was at the housing market's peak.
"Over the past few years, among the primary reasons for lower levels of satisfaction were challenges in addressing the needs of customers concerned about making their payment or who were already delinquent," said J.D. Power and Associates director of mortgage practice Craig Martin.
Meanwhile, notable improvement in how mortgage servicers take calls from their customers was one bright spot in the survey, Martin added. In the past, many borrowers felt navigating the phone systems of financial institutions was difficult and often discouraging. To be more consistent, a number of companies now provide households with direct lines to talk to the same servicer every time, making the process more personalized.
Satisfaction could see more gains in the future
New mortgage regulation introduced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to make the industry more transparent and could further contribute to customer satisfaction. Specifically, the agency recently announced the implementation of two new forms meant to give prospective borrowers a better idea about the costs of taking on a home loan.
The first document will outline the mortgage rate and estimated monthly payments consumers may qualify for based on their financial situation. Not only can this help a borrower prepare financially, but it will also make the process of comparing options between different lenders much simpler.
The second form will be issued to a borrower no less than three days prior to the completion of their purchase and will include a list of the out-of-pocket costs due at closing. In the past, these expenses often caught buyers off guard, and in some cases, even hindered transactions altogether.
Even though the CFPB means to streamline the homebuying process with these documents, a handful of financial institutions, industry groups and politicians have voiced their displeasure, claiming they will be unnecessary burdens to the real estate sector.