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Change Science report says improvements ongoing

June 21, 2006



photo of Coco Salazar
More often than not, mortgage Web sites lack information about nonprime loans and give visitors no reason to come back, a new report found. But the pace of improvement is staggering.

About three-fourths of mortgage Web sites are trying to better inform consumers about the mortgage-lending process, but most leave key questions unanswered and can greatly improve the way information is presented, according to the report published by Change Sciences Group.

“The best mortgage sites are working to build trust by giving homebuyers and refinancers the information they need to be smarter mortgage consumers,” said Steve Ellis, a Change Sciences partner, in the announcement. “Yet most are missing opportunities to connect with prospects in a way that establishes a meaningful relationship.”

The report says that less than a quarter of sites actively address the concerns of spotty-credit borrowers, only four of these sites answer all common questions for this group of borrowers.

Change Sciences said that the percentage of sites that provide a persuasive first impression for refinancing borrowers has improved 10% from six months ago to more than four-fifths.

Another key finding was that only a quarter of lenders’ sites attempt to provide information valuable enough to bring visitors back.

In analyzing whether the sites are making the lending process easier, the researchers reportedly found that only 11% are making the most of online pre-approval, and 43% help prospects connect with a loan officer but only 15% do it in a way that instills confidence and is friction free.

Additionally, three-fifths of sites currently have online mortgage applications but almost all can be made easier to complete, Change Sciences said, noting that the “longest online mortgage application is more than three times longer than the shortest.”

Nonetheless, Change Sciences noted that the pace of change for mortgage sites is intensive, as about 66 percent of sites reviewed two quarters ago have been completely overhauled or had less extensive changes, while the rest had no changes at all.

The report recognized the top three mortgage sites as those belonging to Wells Fargo, E-LOAN and GMAC Mortgage. Countrywide placed fourth, followed by Wachovia, E-Trade, ABN AMRO Mortgage, Chase, First Horizon and CitiMortgage.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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