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Servicer Satisfaction Decreases Significantly in 2011

Overall satisfaction with primary mortgage servicers has decreased significantly since 2010, according to ""J.D. Power and Associates"":http://www.jdpower.com/ 2011 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study released Monday. Overall satisfaction fell from 747 in 2010 to 718 in 2011.
[IMAGE] J.D. Power and Associates measures customer satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale, taking four areas of servicing into consideration: billing and payment process; escrow account administration, phone contact, and website. A decline was present in all areas.

Mortgage servicing companies have experienced declines in brand perception, partially due to negative portrayals in the media.

Two of the most important aspects of brand image are friendly service and reliability, and it is these two aspects which decreased the most from 2010 to 2011.

A large source of dissatisfaction comes from homeowners whose loans were originated between 2006 and 2008. Many of these homeowners would like to refinance to take advantage of lower interest rates but have been unable to do so.

""Many homeowners who are still in home loans that were originated between 2006 and 2008-when home values

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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,"" said David Lo, director of financial services at J.D. Power and Associates.

""The challenge for legislators and lenders is to find a way to help not only homeowners at risk of default, but also this increasingly frustrated group of homeowners who are caught in loans with unfavorable terms and no ability to change them,"" Lo adds.

Lo says servicers can increase their customer satisfaction by improving certain tasks, including helping customers understand how escrow is calculated, resolving customer contacts, making sure each customer has problem-free interactions with the servicer, and clearly explaining fee structures.

Servicers that are consistent in their delivery of these key tasks maintain satisfaction rates averaging 810, while those that do not average about 660.

For the second year in a row, BB&T ranked highest in J.D. Powers' customer satisfaction survey. BB&T scored 768 on the 1,000-point scale.

Regions Mortgage came in second scoring 757, and Wells Fargo took third place with 755.

""Excellence in mortgage servicing revolves around minimizing problems and addressing them quickly and efficiently when they do occur,"" said Lo. ""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.""

J.D. Powers surveyed 5,000 homeowners between April and May 2011 to compile data for the 2011 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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