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TD Bank Unveils Mortgage Service Index To Evaluate Consumer Experiences With Home Financing

PORTLAND, Maine and CHERRY HILL, N.J., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank ®, has announced results of the inaugural Mortgage Service Index. The index, which was generated through a national survey of more than 1,500 consumers who purchased homes within the last 10 years, was conducted to gain insight into consumers' home buying experiences, with specific emphasis on the home financing process. The Mortgage Service Index was designed to identify best practices and trouble areas in home financing and can act as a service indicator for lending institutions.

"The TD Bank Mortgage Service Index provides a detailed look into customer issues, concerns and pain points," said Michael Copley, Executive Vice President, Retail Lending, TD Bank. "As the housing market continues to rebound, the growing number of buyers should be aware of what to look for in a mortgage partner and seek out a lender who will best guide them through the home financing process in order to create a positive home buying experience."

Lending Experiences Positive Overall Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those surveyed found their most recent home buying experience to be "excellent" or "very good," with 67 percent also reporting a positive mortgage-approval process. Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they had "excellent/very good" experiences during the following: finding a good Realtor (55 percent), home appraisal/inspection process (55 percent), finding the right lender (53 percent) and the length of the entire home buying process (53 percent). Additionally, 66 percent of survey responders described their experience with their bank or lender to be "excellent" or "very good," and among those who had a good home buying experience overall, 83 percent cite having a very good lender experience, demonstrating how critical banks and lenders are to customer attitudes towards creating a positive home buying experience.

Understanding Buyer Concerns Despite the majority of those surveyed having positive experiences during their home purchase, results demonstrate room for improvement in the home financing industry. Only 58 percent of those surveyed felt that their lender helped them to understand the mortgage process, just 59 percent felt that they were kept informed throughout the process, only 61 percent felt that the lender showed adequate responsiveness, and 62 percent felt that their lender was accessible during the process. Of those who affirmed they had a very positive home buying experience, approximately three quarters rated their lender as "excellent" or "very good" in responsiveness (74 percent), accessibility (76 percent), and honesty and transparency (76 percent), showing that these factors contribute highly to a buyer's perception of the overall home purchasing process. Additional factors that rated high by those who had an "excellent" or "very good" experience were lenders who: instilled confidence throughout the process (73 percent), helped buyers understand the process (73 percent), kept buyer informed during process (73 percent), and explained the mortgage and available options (72 percent), These results demonstrate that a lender who is accessible and responsive to home buyer needs, and up-front during the process plays a significant role in giving buyers an excellent home buying experience.

Buyers Under Stress Survey results also indicate that although buyers rated the overall home buying process as excellent or very good, most buyers still experience raised stress levels. One quarter (24 percent) of those surveyed found buying a home to be "extremely" or "very stressful" and 45 percent found it to be "somewhat stressful." Approximately two thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed applied for their mortgage in person, while 35 percent applied online or over the phone, indicating that many home buyers continue to seek in-person discussion and council with lenders. Of those who cited having a good lending experience, 69 percent applied for their mortgage in person, while among those who cited a poor lending experience 47 percent applied in person, thus supporting the positive impact of face-to-face interaction with lenders.

"Our Mortgage Service Index research showed that in today's low-interest environment, where most lenders can offer historically low rates, home buyers should be particularly focused on finding a home financing partner who is accessible, responsive and transparent throughout the home buying process," Copley said. "These are pillars of our legendary service platform at TD Bank and are some of the primary factors in the creation of a great home buying process."

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