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In Mortgage Lending, Big Is Better

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 20, 2006

J.D. Power and Associates, a sister unit of BusinessWeek in The McGraw-Hill Companies, came out last week with a report on overall customer satisfaction with primary mortgage lenders.

Here are the top five:

SunTrust Mortgage
Bank of America
Wells Fargo

Notice that they’re all big. No friendly local bankers among them. That’s no coincidence, according to Rocky Clancy, executive director of the banking and mortgage practice at J.D. Power. Here’s what he says in the press release:

“Contrary to other financial services sectors where smaller firms tend to perform better and relationships are key drivers of satisfaction, the highest-ranking mortgage lenders are large-scale players. Accordingly, process carries greater weight in determining overall satisfaction.”

Reader Comments

Jim Duncan

December 20, 2006 11:08 AM

The companies may not be local by definition, but their representatives are - and that makes all the difference in the world. Those with local reputations and business tend to be far more accountable to their customers/clients.


December 20, 2006 7:39 PM

That is interesting to learn, but if you think about it most of the horrors stories that you hear anecdotally are typically small mortgage lenders.


December 25, 2006 1:12 AM


Thanks for writing this post. I too am not too suprised by the study. Sometimes going with a larger firm does have its advantages since there are more stability and people trust the brand that if something goes terribly wrong, the firm will be hold accountable (then again, there are all these major corporations that bankrupted our confidence). Before I became a full time staging professional, I was working as a Realtor. I did find that smaller firms do more creative financing and tend to be more flexible than banks. However, I was surprised by what Bank of America offered when my cousin-in-law told me about what they offered. I think the main key point is what Jim had referred to, is that to just find a loan person you feel that you can trust and a brand that is reputable whether it's a giant or mom & pop.


I Stage to Sell, Live & Work in San Francisco Bay Area!


December 28, 2006 5:29 AM

At the end it all depend on the best rates and service you get
Real Estate Buyers Agents in South Africa

Larry Nusbaum

December 28, 2006 9:12 AM

I have been doing steady business with WAMU since 1990 and know them better than they know themselves.
I have had to walk them through much of the process and they act like I am a stanger every time out. They usually make a couple of dumb mistakes that require extra time to fix (with my help). Underwriters ask stupid questions and requirements met on previous transactions can be rerequested on new ones even though they have already been cleared.
But, they still have the cheapest money around. And, that's all I need to know.

Gayle Daniels

December 29, 2006 12:03 AM

SunTrust Mortgage should NOT be included anywhere on this list. I can speak from up close and personal experience. I was involved in many of the loan closings and they were nightmarish at best! Consumers BEWARE!!!

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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