Servicing ‘Customer Satisfaction’ Rises

It appears the nation’s residential servicers are doing a better job of processing mortgage payments, according to a new customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power & Associates.

According to the research organization, its overall satisfaction index increased to 725 in 2012 from 718 last year. (J.D. Power grades on a 1,000-point scale.)

Among at-risk customers—which account for 21% of the survey sample—the satisfaction index rose 27 points. But the satisfaction rating from prime borrowers (52% of the sample) dropped three points while the nonprime grade rose three points. (Nonprime borrowers accounted for 27% of the sample.)

JDP noted that at-risk consumers—mortgagors ready behind on monthly payments or concerned about their ability to make payments—drove the stronger ratings. In general, at-risk borrowers are working with a servicer, looking for a loan modification or refinancing.

Even though the overall score rose, “We still find customers are more dissatisfied with their servicer experience when they do have to contact their servicer," the firm reported.

Ocwen had the weakest servicer rating in the nation at 613. But then again, Ocwen deals mostly with “high touch” and subprime receivables. Nationstar—which hopes to buy ResCap/GMAC—had the second worst rating at 621. Nationstar also deals mostly with troubled and nonprime customers.

The five firms with the highest customer satisfaction ratings include BB&T (803), followed by Regions Mortgage (779), SunTrust Mortgage (758), Chase (752) and PNC Mortgage (739).

“The study would indicate that we may be starting to turn the corner and servicers are starting to make marked improvement in the service they give customers,” said Craig Martin, JDP’s director of mortgages. “The phone contact piece, the problem piece which historically has been such a challenge, has started to improve.”