n this time of heavy application volume, mortgage lenders should
be taking every step possible to reduce the number of general informational
phone calls and try to meet their member’s informational needs
in other ways. Yet a recent check shows that many credit unions
do not even have basic information about their mortgage programs
on their website, let alone rates or fee information. How well does
your website support your member’s mortgage information needs?
A recent online survey conducted by Callahan’s Survey Consortium
provides some direction in terms of the types of information credit
union members are looking for when refinancing their mortgage loan.
The online survey included credit union members who had refinanced
or purchased a home in 2002-01, although not necessarily with their
credit union. Credit union members were asked questions regarding
their information search and mortgage lender selection.
Not surprisingly, the preferred method for finding out about current
interest rates was the internet/websites. On average, members had
checked rates with three financial institutions before selecting
a mortgage lender. However, many credit unions don’t have
this information online at all. Other credit unions have taken a
more proactive approach, ensuring that their site shows the current
rate for that date even on weekends. Some credit unions offer their
members the daily or weekly rate email, which allows them to further
market their mortgage services.
Although few members had selected a mortgage lender that they first
heard about on the internet, the majority (67%) had used the internet
to research their mortgage options (see chart below) . Interest
rate information, and general loan information top the list of online
resources used by credit union members. The chart also shows the
types of information that members are researching on other financial
institution websites, perhaps because it’s not available or
they’re unaware of their credit union resources.
Although the proportion of members who access their accounts online
varies by credit union, even meeting the needs of a smaller member
segment can help lessen call volume during this busy time. By ensuring
that members have easy access to up-to-date, information on the
credit union website, credit unions can help their members as well
as save time and money. As one online member said “Put more
in-depth information on the website. I do not like to call and bug
people with questions. I would rather look it up online and get
most of the information I need – rates, procedures, etc.”