Who Are the Most Tech Savvy Borrowers?

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With so much emphasis on the Millennial buyer (25-39 year-olds), some of the other major buyer blocks — Gen Z (under 25) as well as the two largest buying blocks, Gen X (40-54) and Baby Boomers (55-75) — have taken a backseat in many lenders’ marketing efforts. However, STRATMOR has recently seen an uptick in the number of lenders asking how they can craft a marketing-communications and technology strategy that caters to all age groups. To answer that question, we must start with a more pointed one. How well are older borrowers adapting to new technology in the mortgage industry?

How Well Are Older Borrowers Adapting to New Technology?

The 55+ home-buying market is very substantial. In 2018, this group comprised 27 percent of all mortgage loan transactions. If your marketing-communications and technology strategy is aimed primarily at younger buyers, it may cost your company serious revenue (Generation Z, the under 25-year-olds, comprised just three percent of mortgage loans in 2018).

As technological advancements continue to drive change in the mortgage industry, STRATMOR’s MortgageSAT Program — which surveys 100,000+ borrowers annually — has been tracking acceptance of (or resistance to) the changes in several areas:

1. Preferred Method of Status Updates
While a proactive call from the lender produces the happiest borrowers in all age ranges, older borrowers are not as tech-resistant as was once thought. The chart below shows the Net Promoter Score (NPS) results for preferred Method of Updates for the two oldest age groups of borrowers:

  • For both the 55-64 and 65+ age ranges, borrowers were happier receiving a text message versus an email.
  • The oldest borrower segment (65+) showed higher satisfaction with receiving their updates through a mobile app (NPS 69) and by logging into a website (NPS 72) than with paper mail (NPS 65).

Source:© MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, 2019.

2. Satisfaction with Online Tools
The younger segment of Baby Boomers was equally as pleased with their lender’s online tools (Satisfaction 90) as Gen Z and Millennials. Satisfaction dipped only slightly (88) for the 65+ age segment. These metrics suggest that the Baby Boomers are quite comfortable with recent technological advancements.


Source:© MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, 2019.

Looking at borrowers’ perception of individual attributes of lenders’ online tools, we again see little difference in satisfaction between age groups, with only a slight dip at age 65+:


Source:© MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, 2019.

3. Reading Social Media Reviews
While it’s no surprise that Gen Z and Millennials show the greatest propensity for reading online reviews, it may be surprising to some that nearly one in three Baby Boomers is also reading reviews.


Source:© MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, 2019.

4. Likelihood of Commenting on Social Media
Who comments on social media posts? Lots of people. It turns out Baby Boomers are engaging in social media (Likelihood to Comment 67 on a 100-point scale) only slightly less than younger generations (71-75):


Source:© MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, 2019.

The Diagnosis

Older borrowers are not just adjusting to new technology in the mortgage industry — they’re embracing it. This new paradigm has ushered in a time in our industry where the old fears of moving too fast have now turned into a scramble to catch up with the rest of the world.

Lenders who embrace this new reality will be the ones who survive and flourish in the years to come. A successful marketing-communications technology strategy will be one that balances personal touch with innovation, and that trusts customers will keep up with continuing technological advancements.

The Prescription

Here are three ways you can begin to craft strategies that cater to your specific borrower age mix:

  1. Know Your Age Mix. You likely already have the data, since it’s part of the 1003. Find out if you weigh more heavily in certain age segments. If you do, maybe it’s a direct result of the types of target marketing you’re doing. Should you be spending more time and attention on a specific age group?
  2. Listen to Your Customer. Asking the customer deeper questions about their experience will reveal how open they are to new technology. Post-close survey programs like MortgageSAT will help you analyze data points like the ones from this article as they apply to your specific situation and age mix.
  3. Offer Assistance. Gathering the data is not enough in and of itself. You should be willing to act if you want to see change. In a recent STRATMOR study, we asked borrowers who received paper billing statements why they had not switched to paperless. 15 percent of them said they just didn’t know how and that they’d be happy to switch if it were made easy and convenient. Sometimes a simple phone call to explain a new technology tool to a customer can go a long way to winning a customer over to a faster, easier process.

Learn more about MortgageSAT and how it can impact your company.

Find out more about STRATMOR’s turnkey survey solution called MortgageSAT, and how rich, drill-down data can help your company. Contact MortgageSAT Director Mike Seminari at mike.seminari@stratmorgroup.com.

To see how improving your NPS score translates into real revenue dollars, try our new MortgageSAT calculator.

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