Homeowners seem to be growing a bit more satisfied with the service they get from the companies that collect their mortgage payments every month, according to a study released this week.
J.D. Power conducted a study measuring consumer satisfaction with mortgage servicers in four factors: Billing and payment process, escrow account administration, website and phone contact.
On a 1,000 point-scale, overall satisfaction was 754 in this year's survey, up from 733 in 2013.
Why are customers happier?
"I think the servicers are doing a better job from the customers' perspective," says Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power.
The general state of the mortgage market -- including low mortgage rates and the fact that many borrowers were able to refinance their mortgages to lower their payments -- probably have contributed to improvement in satisfaction, he says.
Lenders and mortgage servicers have also invested in technology, improved their mobile websites and apps and made it easier for consumers to get answers, Martin says.
"The largest improvement came in phone sector, getting a live contact over the phone," he adds.
Surprisingly, satisfaction improved the most among borrowers who are behind on their mortgage payments or concerned about keeping up with their payments. The survey shows satisfaction among "risk-consumers" increased 42 points from last year to 703.
Why have servicers gotten better?
Mortgage servicers have been under pressure by new mortgage servicing rules and court settlements that together require lenders to do a better job of communicating with borrowers, especially those in default.
That may have contributed to some of the improvement seen in this year's survey but that's not all, Martin says. The need to compete for new business and to attract borrowers has also encouraged the mortgage industry as a whole to improve standards and customer service.
These were the top five servicers in consumer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Powers survey:
- Quicken Loans
- Regions Mortgage
- Wells Fargo
These servicers ranked the worst among the 20 servicers included in the study:
- Green Tree Servicing
- Nationstar Mortgage
- Ocwen Loan Servicing
- Central Mortgage Company
- Everhome Mortage
Please tell us about your experience with your mortgage servicer. Are you happier with the service?
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