Fast follow-up is a good habit for any sales rep. But it usually takes a jolt to lead one into it. The 2008 financial crisis shook up the home mortgage market. The industry has seen a lot of regulations since then. In such a scenario, it’s interesting to see how the mortgage banks follow-up to home loan applications.
Are the “big” banks still interested enough in potential mortgage loan customers to repeatedly follow-up? Does a change in market share have any relation with their follow-ups?
To answer these questions, I conducted a study where I applied for home loans with nine different lenders and then tracked their follow-up attempts over two weeks. During this time, I also did not respond to their follow-up calls and e-mails. Needless to say, they probably hate me by now!
First, let us analyze the number of follow-ups lenders at these banks attempted — by both phone and e-mail.
Analyzing mortgage lender follow-ups
Here is a quick summary of our findings:
- Over the course of two weeks, Quicken Loans made the most follow-up attempts. 18 to be exact.
- Lenders at Citigroup came second with 17 follow-up attempts.
- loanDepot, in third place, attempted 13 follow-ups.
- During the same period, Chase Mortgage and PennyMac Loan Services tied for fourth with 11 follow-up attempts.
- Sales reps at Bank of America only followed-up on the home loan application five times.
- U.S. Bancorp followed-up twice, and CapitalOne and HSBC Mortgage Services tied for last with just a single follow-up attempt.
Two reasons why four out of nine of the banks failed to follow-up more than five times may be:
- The sales representatives at these lending companies use a very poor sales process that fails to prioritize persistence OR
- These banks have an exceptional loan application filtering process, which recognized I wasn’t a serious applicant.
However, I can’t test out either possibility and hence I leave it at that.
When we differentiate follow-up calls and e-mails, we see:
- Citigroup and loanDepot tie for first with 11 phone call attempts.
- PennyMac Loan Services ranks third with eight follow-up phone calls.
- Chase Mortgage places fourth with seven call follow-ups.
- Bank of America comes in fifth with five follow-up calls.
- Quicken Loans drops down to the sixth position with a mere four follow-up calls.
- Capital One, HSBC Mortgage Services, and U.S. Bancorp all only attempt one follow-up call.
Of the nine lenders we contacted, just five used e-mail to follow-up with our home loan application.
- Quicken Loans leads the way here with 14 follow-up e-mails.
- Chase Mortgage and Citigroup each sent four e-mail follow-ups.
- PennyMac Loan Services delivered three follow-up e-mails.
- U.S. Bancorp only followed-up over e-mail once.
The remaining banks (Capital One, HSBC Mortgage Services, loanDepot, and Bank of America) did not e-mail at all. It seems that mortgage banks prefer picking up the phone to follow-up with applicants rather than e-mail.
We also wanted to compare follow-up habits among banking sales reps each day. Since some lenders do not use e-mail to follow-up with applicants, we’ve analyzed call and e-mail follow-up trends separately.
Trends of follow-up interval duration
A few major observations regarding call follow-ups are:
- As the days go by, call follow-up frequency tapers off among almost all lenders.
- PennyMac Loan Services and Citigroup have an abnormally long delay in their follow-up schedule (seven days and 10 days, respectively). The gaps in the follow-up schedule for Chase Mortgage and loanDepot, however, are to be expected since 11/19 and 11/20 were weekend days.
Of the five banks that followed-up with me over e-mail, we discovered:
- On the whole, most banks seem to send out e-mails at progressively slower intervals.
- Though, Quicken Loans is the one exception. Sales reps there sent out a follow-up e-mail nearly every day for a week, then they paused follow-ups for the day before and the day of Thanksgiving. Afterwards, Quicken Loans sent another email on Black Friday and sent an alarming number of follow-ups — five — the following Monday.
It’s interesting to also see how the market share of mortgage banks have varied over the years. At this point, it’s worth asking: Is there a relationship between a bank’s change in market share and the number of follow-ups they attempt?
Market share and follow-up
Here’s how the market share of the mortgage banks we surveyed have varied between 2012 and 2014, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance. (Unfortunately, of the nine lenders studied, we could only find market share information for five).
|Bank||Market Share (2012)||Market Share (2014)||Market Share (+/- change)|
|Bank of America||3.7%||4.4%||0.7%|
We now compute the correlation between the percent change in market share and the number of follow-ups — in total as well as for each follow-up type.
The correlation coefficients in the three cases are:
- Between market share percent change and overall follow-up attempts:
Conclusion: There is some correlation between overall follow-up count and market share percent change.
- Between market share percent change and follow-up call volume:
Conclusion: The correlation between market share percent change and calls count is -0.175 which is almost negligible in this case. The following chart shows the trends of the number of calls over time in decreasing order of market share.
- Between market share percent change and follow-up e-mail volume:
Conclusion: There is a high correlation of 0.875 between market share change and e-mails follow-up count. The assumption here is that sales teams who attempt more follow-ups over email are more likely to outperform the competition.
The below chart shows the number of e-mails plotted over time for various banks in decreasing order of market share. It’s clear that Quicken’s high market share is correlated with the number of e-mails it sent out. Other banks not only sent out fewer e-mails but sent them out at later times too.
The correlation findings are limited by the fact that the market share numbers are available for just five out of the nine banks.
The home mortgage industry has seen a lot of changes since the Great Recession of 2008. Still, follow-up with leads seems to be a priority for successful sales teams even though the market share of some banks may have dipped.
Other key takeaways from this study include:
- Home mortgage lenders prefer following-up via phone over e-mail.
- As time lapses, nearly all salespeople seem to increase the delay between successive follow-ups.
- Banks are all quick to respond to home loan applications though. However, they are not all equally persistent.
In sales, it is commonly believed that persistence pays in the long run. And our research supports that notion.
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Credits: All the images have been designed by Photoshop whiz Rodrigo Antinarelli
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