Mortgage cattle call

My mortgage was sold to a new servicer.

This was how my husband and I found out:

On the 1st of April, our mortgage company didn’t withdraw the usual payment from our account. We figured something was up, but heard nothing for weeks. (In fact, we’ve still yet to hear anything from our old mortgage company.)

Then, last week, an email arrived from another mortgage company informing us that we have “three easy ways to pay” them.

No … Hi, we’re your new mortgage servicer. We’ll be the ones taking the largest sum of money out of your account every month so we thought we’d at least introduce ourselves and let you know that your loan changed hands.

No … Hi, we’re your new mortgage servicer. We’re happy you’re here. Here’s how to reach us and what we are available to help you with.

No. None of that.

They led with “3 ways to pay your mortgage”. Go online or call now. And left it there.

The words felt like they came directly out of a spreadsheet.

We thought for a sec, hey is this even for real? This could be one of those phishing scams that drain people’s bank accounts.

We clicked to the company’s website. The branding looked different than what was in the email we just received. Different colors. Different design. Same company?

Confused. Feeling like cattle in a cold corporate basement.

Is this how they want to make their customer feel?

***

Our mortgage was sold and no one told us.

You may argue: does it really matter?

I say it does.

A mortgage is already a stressful, confusing piece of the home buying process. A lot of people stumble through it with enough understanding to not hurt themselves, but they lack real confidence.

What a huge opportunity to make an impression as a warm voice of reason – a stable force of mortgage superpowers there when needed.

No one wants to feel like cattle in a cold corporate basement. There’s no incentive to care about a company that makes you feel that way.

But if my new mortgage company had at least welcomed me with clarity and kindness, I would’ve leaned in closer to hear what they were saying.

Do over

There’s a simple fix for what I’d label a horrible customer experience. It goes like this:

My old mortgage company could’ve at least given a heads up. An email with a date on it is really all we would’ve needed. But I don’t know, are there laws around this? Is there a regulatory reason why I could not have been notified? If so, fine. But if not, a simple communication would’ve been nice. We got none. Not even a quiet wave from the backseat as they drove away.

My (evidently) new company could also consider drafting a nice welcome email for new customers. These messages generally give some introductory information and a reason for the email. Simple wins here as well. All we needed was a little hello, here’s what’s happening with your mortgage and here’s who we are and how you can reach us.

It would’ve made me feel something warmer anyway. Instilled a little confidence.

But what I got fell short. The whole experience made me feel nothing positive toward either mortgage company. I was left with confusion and the conclusion that these companies don’t really care about me beyond getting my payment every month.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not expecting to have my mortgage company call me every week just to check in. But a formal yet friendly notification of the big stuff shouldn’t be optional.

More than just a personal gripe here is my feeling that this exchange points to a larger brewing issue: for the most part, the mortgage experience is still very unfriendly to consumers. It’s these very experiences that can serve as powerful fuel for disruptors who want to reinvent the business from the outside.

A thoughtfully worded email. A customary introduction. Simple things can go a long way to alleviate the cattle syndrome I’ve been feeling this month.

At 1000watt, we’re working with a couple of mortgage clients who are committed to getting this right. We’re looking for more.

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