Renters and homeowners struggling through the pandemic are facing new challenges. The federal eviction moratorium expired Saturday, and mortgage forbearance programs that have helped some homeowners avoid foreclosure are beginning to be phased out.
Of the two groups, homeowners may be in a better position. Mortgage rates are at historic lows and home values have increased during the pandemic, making it easier to refinance and reduce payments.
A new mortgage servicing rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows mortgage servicers to move all missed payments to the end of a loan term but prevents them from modifying the loan in a way that increases monthly payments.
High marks from consumers
A new J.D. Power study finds that mortgage servicers earned higher marks from consumers over the last 12 months as they worked with homeowners. The study found that in particular, high-risk borrowers who were more likely to be in a forbearance program had the highest opinions of their loan servicers.
Rocket Mortgage, which includes Quicken Loans, was the highest-ranked mortgage servicer for an eighth consecutive year in the J.D. Power survey, with a score of 860. Guild Mortgage ranked second with a score of 825 and Huntington National Bank was in third place with a score of 824.
A check of reviews posted on ConsumerAffairs shows our reviewers have opinions that closely match J.D. Power’s findings. Of the three companies, Quicken Loans/Rocket Mortgage was ranked number one with 4.0 out of 5 stars but Huntington Bank was second with 3.7 stars with Guild Mortgage third with 3.5 stars.
“Working with Rocket Mortgage was a great experience, they kept me informed throughout the entire process,” Ed, of South Jordan, Utah posted last week
Non-bank servicers performed best
The J.D. Power researchers say non-bank loan servicers won consumers’ affections during the pandemic. Bank-affiliated servicers, which have historically outperformed non-banks by a large margin, gain just four points in satisfaction this year.
"Mortgage servicer satisfaction was buoyed by the industry’s response to the pandemic, with some of the biggest gains in customer satisfaction being driven by at-risk and moderate-risk customers who participated in forbearance programs,” said Jim Houston, director of consumer lending intelligence at J.D. Power.
But now that the economy is recovering from the pandemic and programs to help homeowners are ending, Houston said that increase in satisfaction may not last that long.
“Mortgage servicers will really need to up their customer engagement games as the marketplace stabilizes,” he said.
To shop for a mortgage servicer check out the thousands of verified ConsumerAffairs reviews from mortgage customers here.