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Human Touch Still Important to Borrowers, Despite Digitization

Though digital mortgage solutions are on the rise, it appears most buyers don’t want the entire transaction handled online. According to Fannie Mae’s recent Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, most consumers still want a human touch.

The survey, which examined lenders’ channel strategies as they relate to consumer preferences, factored in responses from more than 200 senior executives across 190 lending institutions. And according to most lenders, “borrowers still want the human touch in the mortgage process,” Fannie Mae reported.

According to the survey, 90 percent of consumers say they want person-to-person communication—either face-to-face, on the phone or via email—with their mortgage lenders. About 42 percent of them use phone most often, while 35 percent use email, lenders say. According to lenders, only about 13 percent prefer face-to-face interactions at a branch or office.

The survey shows most lenders are offering customer service via a mix of these channels, with 90 percent using the phone for interacting with customers, 88 percent using email, 80 percent using their local branch or office, and 74 percent using their company website. A smaller fraction—mostly larger institutions—are using social media and mobile apps.

“Overall, most lenders believe their organization’s omni-channel customer service is quite strong,” Fannie Mae reported. “Lenders emphasize customer centricity, person-to-person interaction when possible, and quick response time as best practices, but cite challenges with systems integration, adopting new technologies, and costs.”

In the future, lenders plan to expand digital efforts while still focusing on person-to-person communication. However, 40 percent of lenders believe P2P communication will be less important down the line.

“Few lenders feel strongly about the future role of person-to-person communications (phone and in-person),” Fannie Mae reported. “Nearly 40 percent think it will be less important in the foreseeable future. In comparison, recent mortgage borrowers show a strong preference for person-to-person communication—almost all would like to use phone or in-person communication in the future.”

Read the full results of the Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey at FannieMae.com.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.

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