Borrowers give UK lender websites thumbs down

UK mortgage lender websites have scored poorly among consumers who have expressed frustration at the levels of poor quality customer service.

The 10 UK mortgage lenders assessed as part of a customer experience survey from Global Reviews were found to score lower in terms of customer satisfaction than insurance companies or energy providers.

Global Reviews principle consultant Rebecca Jennings says: “The mortgage industry needs to address its online shortcomings to avoid an explosive combination of social media’s amplification powers fused with the majority of applicants willing to actively discourage others to visit.”

A score of 100 per cent would be indicative of a ‘perfect online journey.’ The lenders scored an average of 49 per cent, based on a series of tests taken by consumers involving practical tasks, an attitudinal study and an audit of the site’s features. Comparatively, home insurers scored 58 per cent, motor insurers scored 51 per cent and energy providers scored 50 per cent.

Nationwide reportedly offers the best online experience for potential customers, scoring 56 per cent, followed by both HSBC and Barclays who both scored 54 per cent. Santander received the poorest review, scoring an average of 40 per cent.

Just 12 per cent of potential customers would recommend any of the lenders’ websites and 57 per cent would actively discourage others from visiting. In terms of recommendation, even the highest score was still a negative one with Nationwide receiving minus 13 per cent. The Co-operative Bank’s site is the least likely to be recommended as it scored minus 68 per cent.

Recommendation scores are calculated by subtracting the percentage of visitors who dissuade someone from visiting a website from the percentage who would recommend it.

Nearly half of applicants, 49 per cent, reported trouble with the online application form despite lenders receiving their highest average score in this area with 57 per cent approval.

Jennings says: “Mortgage lenders are especially careless at the final stage, often failing to provide straightforward information such as how long a decision will take or how they’ll be in touch. This support is particularly vital for the biggest purchase a consumer will ever make in their lives. Its absence erodes confidence in the lender right from the official beginning of the relationship.”

Nationwide again scored highest at the evaluation products stage, registering 67 per cent positive feedback while Leeds Building Society scored worst with 36 per cent.

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director Robert Sinclair says: “I never cease to be amazed why more customers don’t end up with intermediaries given the reputation of the banks and the quality of some of their offerings. Some people go direct to lender websites but a lot more end up on aggregator websites because some of them are quite good in giving help and support to consumers.”