Americans Want More Disclosure From Online Mortgage Servicers

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Photo: Flickr / dno1967b

Mortgage shopping websites make it easy to get a side-by-side comparison of rates, but when it comes to privacy and fee disclosure, consumers say they’re not doing enough. When Mortgage Marvel asked more than 2.000 prospective homebuyers what they want from online mortgage shopping sites, they found consumers want a clear, full understanding of all fees they’ll take on once they purchase a home. 

“It’s revealing that across the age spectrum, so many online users cite full disclosure of fees and privacy as their top priorities,” said Rick Allen, chief operating officer of Mortgage Marvel. “This is a confirmation of our commitment to fully disclose fees and closing costs, and to protect anonymity as consumers gather facts about mortgage rates and fees.”

Here’s a snapshot of the survey’s findings: 

  • 25 per cent want “full, accurate disclosure of fees.” 
  • 20 per cent want “access to rates without having to provide my personal info.”
  • 16 per cent want the “ability to easily compare rates and fees.” 
  • 10 per cent want “protection from unsolicited loan offers.”
  • 7 per cent want “accurate, real-time rate quotes.” 

When broken down by categories, Mortgage Marvel found that women valued privacy more than men, while men valued full, accurate disclosure of fees more than women. Either way, all respondents were wary of working with a mortgage servicer whose documents don’t state the real costs of a mortgage.

Mortgage disclosure became a hot topic in the recession as countless homeowners watched their homes fall into foreclosure because they didn’t understand the complicated terms of their documents, couldn’t modify them, and fell behind on payments. 

To help remedy problem, the CFPB released guidelines for reviewing mortgage lenders in January, including nonbanks, to determine whether they’re in violation of any consumer laws. The 20-page guidebook spells out exactly what needs to be monitored, from privacy laws to discriminatory lending practices based on race, gender, income or other factors, and false advertising

The agency’s Know Before You Owe campaign also aims to roll federal mortgage disclosure documents into a simple, easier-to-use form. 

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