Satisfaction with Mortgage Servicers Declines Significantly

Homeowners with unfavorable loan terms grow increasingly frustrated with their inability to refinance. For the second year in a row, BB&T ranks highest.

Homeowners who originated their mortgages during the peak of the housing boom are increasingly frustrated, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The 2011 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study revealed that overall satisfaction has declined almost 4% from 2010.

“Excellence in mortgage servicing revolves around minimizing problems and addressing them quickly and efficiently when they do occur,” said David Lo, director of financial services at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Servicers that excel in these areas benefit from much higher consideration rates for new loans and other products, more recommendations, and a more positive perception of their brand.”

Brand image overall has taken a beating. Media coverage of abuses against homeowners has had a negative impact on brand perceptions. The most important aspects of brand image

— friendly service and reliability — have declined most notably from 2010.

Overall, the most disgruntled customers are those who retain loans that originated prior to 2009. These customers have been consistently more unsatisfied each year.

“Many homeowners who are still in home loans that were originated between 2006 and 2008 — when home values peaked and credit standards were the most lax — would like to refinance, but can’t because they either don’t have enough equity in their home due to falling home prices or their credit profile doesn’t meet today’s tougher standards,” Lo said. “This has become increasingly frustrating to homeowners and a big contributor to their dissatisfaction. They are unable to take advantage of interest rates that have declined to historic lows.

BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust) ranks highest in customer satisfaction among primary mortgage servicers for a second consecutive year, with a score of 768. BB&T performs particularly well in the billing and payment process and escrow account administration factors.

Here is a list of how primary mortgage servicers fared.

On a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction with primary mortgage servicers was at 718, down from 747. Satisfaction has decline for all four areas measured: billing and payment process; escrow account administration; website; and phone contact.

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