Nonbank Quicken Tops in Customer Satisfaction, B of A the Worst

Overall customer satisfaction with the mortgage origination process increased for the second consecutive year and is now at the highest level in six years, according to a new report from J.D. Power and Associates.

Overall, consumers gave the industry an average score of 761 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2012, up from 747 in 2011 and 734 the year before.

JDP, unveiling its U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, said residential customers are reacting to improved levels of communication and transparency.

“Given the recent challenges across financial services, the highest-performing lenders in the 2012 study have reduced customer uncertainty and apprehension with greater transparency and communication regarding what to expect in the origination process,” said Craig Martin, director of JDP’s mortgage practice. “This increase in satisfaction is particularly impressive given the increasingly expanded origination timelines during the past year.”

According to interviews conducted by National Mortgage News earlier this year some firms were taking upwards of 90 days to close a loan because of concerns about underwriting quality.

The survey also says customer satisfaction is starting to trump price as the reason why consumers return to the same lender when they refinance.

Martin said “From the perspective of customers, peace of mind in the loan origination process is critically important, and selecting a lender with a slightly higher rate, but that provides superior customer service, may be worth the few extra dollars in their monthly payment.”

The result echoes a recent poll from Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group.

Among lenders, Quicken Loans had the highest score for the third year in a row at 817 (a slight decline from last year’s 818 score), followed by BB&T, U.S. Bank, Chase and SunTrust.

At the other end of the scale, Bank of America had the lowest score at 696 (a decline from last year’s 710), with PHH at 710, and GMAC Mortgage and Citi tied at 723. For PHH it is a big fall from grace: last year’s score of 747 equaled the industry average.

On the other hand Flagstar went from the second lowest scoring lender in 2011 to the seventh highest.