Here are the benefits of using an in-person mortgage lender instead of an online lender.
Online lenders are now among the largest originators of mortgages, but local lenders continue to attract customers who crave an experience and connection they feel is unavailable on the internet.
“They know we’re part of the same community that they live in and care about the same things,” said Jennifer Cowles, vice president of mortgage lending and loan servicing at Workers Credit Union. “We’re nurturing relationships.”
Credit unions accounted for 9% of the $1.75 trillion in mortgages originated nationwide in 2017, according to U.S. mortgage market statistics for 2018 compiled by MagnifyMoney by LendingTree. Banks were responsible for 40% of mortgages and nonbank lenders, like online originators, originated 51%.
Just 3% of 5,187 mortgage customers surveyed only used digital self-service channels for their loan process, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Researchers found that “overall satisfaction is highest among customers who spoke only with their lender in person or over the phone (871) when applying for a mortgage, followed by satisfaction among those who used a mix of personal and self-service tools (868).”
Workers Credit Union members appreciate that they can get service over the phone or at a branch, Cowles said. “We can be face to face very easily if that’s the way the member prefers to deal with us.”
While some borrowers like the speed and convenience that online mortgages offer, others want the human touch. “When it comes to big financial decisions, some people just feel more at ease doing business in person,” according to an Investopedia article comparing Quicken Loans vs. your local bank. “If you are the type of person who likes to look people in the eye when getting advice, a local lender might be the best way to go.”
Borrowers also like knowing that their mortgage payments help their community when they use a local bank, Investopedia noted. “Smaller banks also tend to support local events and charities, thus bolstering the local community.”