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JD Power Ranks Wachovia First in Satisfaction, Cautions Against Using Mortgage Brokers

According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Primary Mortgage Origination Study released today, most homeowners have not been impacted negatively by the current mortgage crisis, and overall satisfaction has remained stable since 2006.

“While it’s true that borrowers with weaker credit and those seeking larger ‘jumbo’ loans experience longer approval times and requests for more documentation, satisfaction has remained steady among the 75 percent of mainstream borrowers with good credit applying for moderately sized loans,” said Tim Ryan, senior director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Wachovia was the highest ranked mortgage lender in terms of satisfaction, receiving a score of 827 out of a possible 1,000 points, particularly for its improvement within the closing process, while SunTrust came in a close second with 818, and Bank of America rounded out the top three with 760 points.

The study, based on responses from 4,378 consumers who originated new mortgages between September 2006 and August 2007, measures customer satisfaction with four key factors of the loan origination process, including application approval, interaction with the loan representative, closing, and problem resolution.

Interestingly, J.D. Power suggested working directly with a mortgage lender instead of using a mortgage broker or an online service, saying it would lead to a more positive experience with fewer problems.

“The percentage of borrowers working directly with their lender instead of through a third party has increased, which has helped maintain the stability of overall satisfaction since 2006,” said Ryan. “This has also contributed to the average borrower experiencing faster approval and closing times.”

It’s the latest in a series of blows against mortgage brokers who have received a good share of the blame for the current mortgage mess.

Here are the rankings of mortgage lenders in terms of satisfaction, based on a 1,000 point scale (Industry Average 750):

Wachovia – 827
SunTrust Mortgage – 818
Bank of America – 760
National City Mortgage – 759
CitiMortgage/Citibank – 753
Chase – 752
Wells Fargo – 749
Countrywide Home Loans – 745
GMAC Mortgage – 744
ABN AMRO Mortgage – 740
American Home Mortgage Corp. – 736
Washington Mutual – 733
First Franklin – 595

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