Becoming borrowers’ and depositors’ mortgage provider might seem like the path of least resistance for banks and credit unions. After all, roughly 70% of mortgage borrowers said they applied with an institution with whom they already had a relationship, according to research by Cornerstone Advisors. Unfortunately, with consumers utilizing upwards of 30 financial companies, winning new mortgages from depositors is anything but a done deal.
In a market where interest rates and origination volume compel lenders to strike all the weaknesses from their lead generation and origination processes, banks and credit unions need to hone their ability to serve every possible customer or member who needs a mortgage, or equity financing, this year.
Can banking institutions depend on their people to provide the answers sought by consumers? Conventional banking wisdom – that consumers seek help from the financial providers with whom they have a personal relationship – is true, but it’s not the whole story. Consumers said they prefer to research mortgage options online first, rather than speaking to banking staff. However, once they’re done researching an institution’s offering, they want quick access to a loan officer.
Almost half (48%) of mortgage recipients researched their choice of lenders, and 42% of refinancers researched their borrowing options and lenders, the study found. “Nearly 90% of those that did research their decision went to a financial institution’s website or mobile app,” said Cornerstone’s Shevlin. “We expected that human interactions would be rated more highly than website interactions, which are often limited in their ability to provide a conversational approach to the interaction.”
The tide has turned definitively toward digital-first for consumers. Thirty-six percent of all Americans surveyed by Zillow during the pandemic said they would be more likely to buy a home entirely online. And nearly 60% of respondents to Cornerstone’s 2021 research – the highest-scoring response – said their lender’s website influenced which mortgage lenders they selected — even though they already were customers of the lender they eventually chose.
With consumers turning increasingly to the internet for information, services, and even for big financial transactions like selling or buying a home, how can lenders enable loan officers to engage consumers when they are needed?
Read our report “Three Ways to Win Mortgages from Depositors,” for an answer. We’ve also pulled together key insights from consumers on what they want from their financial provider of choice.