Mortgage servicers are being bombarded with customer inquiries fueled by low interest rates on the one hand and pandemic-related delinquencies on the other. It’s a double whammy that should serve as an urgent wake-up call to invest in customer communications management technology and digital self-service tools that improve customer experience (CX), cost savings and operating efficiencies.
So far, the industry has struggled to keep pace. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, customers face long wait times with call centers because of the lack of online information and proactive outreach from their mortgage companies:
- 62% of customers visit their lender’s website first but only 28% say online is the most effective channel to get help
- 19% say it’s hard to reach a live call agent with at-risk customers calling an average of 3.15 times vs. 2.54 for low-risk customers
- 40% say they’ve received no proactive communication from their lender
Communication Is Key
For customers in financial distress, timely communication is paramount. But mortgage companies are failing to deliver essential information about payment relief to those who need it.
Case in point: Mortgage forbearance.
Under the 2020 CARES Act, those with federally guaranteed mortgages can skip payments for up to a year without penalty. Commercial lenders aren’t required to offer forbearance, but many are doing so
Unfortunately, many mortgage holders don’t know they qualify for forbearance.
About 1 million borrowers past due by at least 30 days on their mortgages have not taken advantage of forbearance, according to the Wall Street Journal. To do so, homeowners must take the step to literally ask their mortgage servicer for it.
Compounding the confusion: After being approved for forbearance, some homeowners are still receiving compliance-mandated letters about past-due payments and the potential of foreclosure.
CCM Transforms CX
Cloud-based customer communications management (CCM) software gives mortgage firms the control and flexibility they need to quickly add and update critical information to billing statements and other loan-related communications including:
- payment relief options
- refinancing steps
- mortgage rates
- home equity lines
- pandemic protocols and safeguards
- call-center numbers and other customer service choices
- self-service and other website tools
- digital payment portals
- disclosures by state and other compliance-related information
CCM technology also enables omnichannel communications to give customers their preferred delivery choice, including mail, email and text. By communicating the way customers want, servicers can more effectively reach and engage them.
CX Drives Business Results
While the industry operates on tight margins, it’s always best to make the extra effort to keep homeowners in their homes, particularly during a global pandemic. Importantly, homeowners who can’t pay now represent a small portion of the 53 million active mortgages, and when forbearance ends, these mortgage holders are obligated to make up the payments.
While the average customer satisfaction score for mortgage servicers is low compared to other industries, it rose slightly from 2019, J.D. Power found. The industry needs to build on this improvement, prioritizing digital transformation to get CX and operations where they need to be.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.
Bryan Ten Broek
Vice President, Business Development & Marketing