The J.D. Power  2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction study  released Thursday found that servicers are spending too much time and resources focusing on at-risk customers, negatively impacting satisfaction for the majority of their customers.
"While servicers must be prepared to work within the confines of industry regulations, they must also effectively satisfy customers whose expectations regarding technology and personal service are rapidly changing," the survey said. "To meet these challenges and remain competitive, mortgage servicers need to understand and implement key best practices that have the greatest potential to reduce or prevent problems, contain costs, and create positive customer experiences that improve brand perceptions and minimize oversight risk."
At-risk customers, those that J.D. Power defines currently behind in their mortgage payments or concerned about keeping current during the next year, represent only 15 percent of the survey respondent pool. This small group has been the center of regulatory and other government agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. The survey determined that among mortgage service customers who are highly satisfied, 14 percent are at-risk customers and 86 percent are customers who are current with their payment.
“A lot of time and resources have been spent on the live representative interaction to help distressed borrowers. While improvement is needed, the majority of mortgage customers haven’t seen a lot of meaningful changes in their experience,” said Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power. “Mortgage servicers must ensure that all customers’ concerns receive the appropriate attention in customer experience management decisions. For example, the typical mortgage servicing customer prefers to interact online, so a high-quality self-service website experience should be a priority, but it is often an afterthought.”
The study is based on responses from 5,922 customers from March 2015 through April 2015 who have had a mortgage on their primary residence for at least one year. It gauged customer satisfaction with the servicing experience among the largest U.S. mortgage servicers through six key factors: onboarding, billing and payment, escrow account administration, fees, interaction, and communications.
According to J.D. Power, on a 1,000-point scale, Quicken Loans, Inc. ranked the highest in terms of customer satisfaction among all primary mortgage servicers for the second consecutive year with a score of 834, performing well in all six key categories. Citizens ranks second with a score of 768, followed by Capital One at 742. Overall customer satisfaction with mortgage servicers is 718.
"Providing an outstanding mortgage servicing experience can generate high levels of advocacy and loyalty," the survey noted.
The study finds that 85 percent of highly satisfied customers with satisfaction scores of 900 or higher say they “definitely will” recommend their mortgage servicer to others. In addition, 74 percent say they “definitely will” reuse their servicing provider for their next home purchase.