An annual study of mortgage originators identified the best companies and found that borrowers are more satisfied when dealing with a direct lender than with a mortgage broker or online lead generation company.
The 2007 Primary Mortgage Origination Study was conducted by J.D. Power and Associates on 4,378 borrowers who closed on their mortgages between September 2006 and August 2007, according to an announcement today.
The report analyzed customer satisfaction with application approvals, interaction with loan representatives, loan closings and problem resolution.
Based on a scale of 1,000, overall satisfaction was 750, J.D. Power said. The level of overall satisfaction was little changed from 2006.
"While it's true that borrowers with weaker credit and those seeking larger 'jumbo' loans experience longer approval times and requests for more documentation, satisfaction has remained steady among the 75 percent of mainstream borrowers with good credit applying for moderately sized loans," Tim Ryan, J.D. Power's senior director of the mortgage practice, said in the announcement.
With a score of 827, Wachovia ranked highest among primary mortgage lenders, the report indicated. Among the factors helping the Charlotte, N.C.-based company place at the top of the ranking was its closing process.
SunTrust ranked second with a score of 818, followed by Bank of America, which scored 760, J.D. Power said. Next was National City Mortgage at 759; CitiMortgage/Citibank, with a score of 753; Chase, which scored 752; and Wells Fargo, which came in at 749. Rounding out the top 10 were Countrywide Home Loans, at 745; GMAC Mortgage, with a score of 744; and Citi subsidiary ABN AMRO Mortgage, which came in at 740.
American Home Mortgage Corp., which has shut down origination operations and filed for bankruptcy, ranked No. 11 with a score of 736, the statement said.
J.D. Power indicated that a growing share of prospective borrowers who work directly with mortgage lenders instead of mortgage brokers or online lead generators have more positive experiences, faster turnarounds and fewer problems.
The report said mortgage lenders must provide clear communication about the loan process and approval time. In addition, they should ensure the accuracy of applications, closing cost estimates and mortgage payments.