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Mortgage Expert More Important Than Automation?

A Mortgage Expert will avoid frustration during the underwriting process

J.D. Power, a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics, releases a telling 2017 report showing consumers are becoming less satisfied with the promise of a digital mortgage experience.  Here’s why!

The 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with the mortgage origination experience in six factors (listed alphabetically): application/approval process; interaction; loan closing; loan offerings; on-boarding; and problem resolution.

This study is based on responses from 5,893 customers who originated a new mortgage or refinanced within the past 12 months, and was fielded in July-August 2017.

Key Findings of J.D. Power Report

Let’s take a look at a couple of the key findings that jumped out at me from the of the J.D. Power report.

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I am going to pull back the curtain and explain exactly where the disconnect happens between what the Wizards of advertising are promising, and the experience that you actually have.


J.D. Power Survey: Digital use surges but not digital satisfaction: For the first time in the study’s history, both refinance and purchase customers cite online/website as the most frequent method of submitting a mortgage application.

A total of 43% of mortgage customers indicate applying digitally in 2017, up from just 28% in 2016. Satisfaction among customers applying online/via website has declined by 18 points year over year and trails satisfaction with in-person applications by 10 points this year.


Make The Process Easier

The pursuit of automation and simplification of the mortgage application process is a noble cause. We NEED it!

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Anyone that has gone through the process of qualifying for a mortgage knows that it can require a lot of documentation and explanation unless you are one of the rare few that has perfect credit and have been at a single W2 job for more than 2 years.

What these big box lenders have been wildly successful at is creating a user friendly online mortgage application, and pushing the technology forward that allows you to connect your bank accounts and employer to the application.

When you pull back the wizard’s curtain, it’s easy to see that the biggest disconnect is that the promise of an automated, simplified process only applies to the application process.

Human beings are still responsible for moving the loan through the underwriting and documentation process and coordinating the closing.

Big box lenders are not the only ones with this technology. Most lenders and professional loan officers have automation tools that equal those of big box lenders, but they don’t have the millions of advertising dollars to tell you about it.

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J.D. Power Survey: Representatives play key role in building customer trust: Overall satisfaction among mortgage customers with high levels of trust in their loan representatives is 358 points higher than among those with low levels of trust. The top three elements driving that perception of trust are representatives always calling back when promised; continuity in working with a single representative throughout the process; and representatives proactively providing status updates.


Mortgage Expert Needed

This finding did not surprise me at all.  Many of the readers that find our community here tell very similar stories about the train coming off the rails at some point during the mortgage approval process.

Without going off on too big of a rant, any business model that uses a call center as the first point of human contact is failing to provide the level of professional expertise that you might need if you don’t fit perfectly into big box guidelines.

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These mega-lenders depend on very high volumes of business in order to be able to pay for all of the advertising and marketing that they are committed to.

This business model simply cannot offer the flexibility and expertise that many borrowers need.

If you’re working with a call center and cannot get an automated underwriting approval, that’s where a mortgage expert can understand what happened, and tell you exactly what needs to be done to correct the issues.

You would be shocked at how many loans are turned down because the loan officer does not have enough experience to know why are not getting an automated approval.

The Cost of Not Using a Mortgage Expert

Using a mortgage expert that makes a career of helping consumers make educated decisions about their real estate does not mean higher rates or fees.  Quite the contrary is usually true.

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Most career mortgage professionals are small business owners, and/or very entrepreneurial minded.  Career loan officers have a fraction of the overhead of the large advertising budgets of big box lenders.

My experience is that big box lenders rarely offer the lowest rates and fees.

A mortgage professional is someone that is as invested in your success as you are.  Real professionals really care, and will fight hard for you, regardless of any challenges that might come up.

A mortgage expert lives to solve problems and specialize in overcoming challenges. Having a mortgage expert and not needing one is always better than needing an expert and not having one!

At least that’s my experience.

Final Thoughts

I’m torn over this topic because I LOVE innovation.  The advancements in technology and user experience during the first steps of the mortgage application process were totally necessary.

Without these big spending mega-lenders, I don’t know that we would have the automation that we have today.  And, I completely understand the desire to bypass hurdles in the mortgage approval process, but not at the expense of consumers getting expert guidance.

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I believe that your financial health and long term wealth are as important as your physical health.  I believe there should be more attention paid to America’s “financial health care” plan.

When you pull back the curtain and reveal the frailty of the promises made by mega-advertising Wizards, be rest assured that there are mortgage experts that are career professionals.

These mortgage experts have the same application and approval automation, and if you need it, you have an expert standing by to tackle anything that might pop up.  Trust me, things will pop up!

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If you are like most people that visit this website, you’ve got a mortgage problem or an unanswered question and you’re having trouble getting answers.

We are here to help you get the right answer, the first time, and connect you with an experienced loan officer that can help if necessary.

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About Scott Schang

As a 18 year veteran of the Mortgage and Real Estate industry, I am passionate about educating and empowering consumers. I have been writing about consumer protection issues, and making sense of complicated real estate and mortgage topics on this website since 2007

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