There’s no denying we have all changed the way we live over the last two years. For some, the COVID-19 pandemic sweetened the lure of smaller cities, especially for those who were habitating in high-cost, major metropolitan areas. For others, postponements of major life events like marriage and starting a family as well as declining job opportunities have pushed permanent relocation levels to new record lows. No matter what end of the spectrum we may find ourselves on, current and prospective homeowners, alike, are collectively feeling the pressure.
U.S housing affordability has worsened while the pandemic helped spark a nationwide housing boom during the highest inflationary period seen in nearly four decades. As the world begins to reopen, and just in time for prices to be affected by the spring homebuying season, the next few months will be critical in evaluating which habits should be here to stay. To help guide our industry through these dramatic changes, we studied consumer sentiment and behavior across generations as it relates to servicing accessibility and engagement.
In January 2022, Brace commissioned a survey of U.S homeowners to gain insight into consumers’ understanding and needs when it comes to mortgage servicing. The Brace Mortgage Servicing Survey found that homeowners strongly believe connected, digital banking experiences provide them with the care and comfort they desire when managing their loans. More than half of homeowners (53%) report they are seeking an alternative to only speaking directly to a person for help or questions about paying their mortgage.
While many people prefer the “human element” when it comes to costly investments, it doesn’t necessarily hold true when people are in financial difficulty. A large proportion of consumers are left spiraling toward foreclosure without a means to help themselves. This is especially true when they are in need of assistance during hardship.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established as part of Dodd-Frank federal regulations passed to prevent future financial crises. The CFPB recently published its FY 2022-2026 strategic plan, and two of its primary goals within the next four years are to increase fair and transparent servicing for consumers, especially the traditionally underserved. By providing secure digital access, servicers can not only be in-step with CFPB goals, but they can also provide proactive ways to educate consumers on how they’re there to help them at all times with their most crucial investment—their home.
Recent market disruptions have only underscored that a digital shift in mortgage servicing is not only beneficial for the entire mortgage ecosystem, but it’s also long overdue. To learn more about how to improve the mortgage servicing experience through digital self-servicing options and to read the full survey results, complete the form on the right to read the full survey results.