Branch Banking & Trust (BBT) took the top spot in JD Power and Associates’ mortgage origination customer satisfaction study. BB&T earned a score of 783 in the study, the top-ranking lender of the 23 surveyed. Wells Fargo (WFC) subsidiary Wachovia ranked second, with a 781 score, followed by National City Mortgage and Sun Trust Mortgage, tied with scores of 769 each. Wells Fargo rounded out the top five with a score of 754. The industry average score was 739, JD Power and Associates said. Bank of America (BAC) ranked slightly above the average, with a 741. BofA unit Countrywide, however, was below average, with a 720 score. Chase (CCF) and CitiMortgage/CitiBank (C) earned scores of 720 and 711, respectively. The rankings are derived from a panel of respondents who obtained mortgages within the past 12 months, which helps explain why Wachovia and Countrywide have separate entries. “But we base our responses on customer perception. They select who their lender is from a list and they selected Countrywide or Wachovia in those cases,” David Lo, the study’s director, told HousingWire. Lo added the survey showed that it’s taking longer for lenders to close mortgages, both because of increased standards and because institutions are inundated by the volume of applications for both purchase and refinance loans. The survey also shows average borrower credit scores are increasing, indicating potential borrowers with lower credit aren’t getting loans. Banks that had certain customer service practices in place fared better in the survey, even when obtaining the loan took longer. “It’s certainly justified that lenders are being more cautious,” Lo said. “But to mitigate dissatisfaction with a lengthier process, the data’s telling us when lenders are proactively giving updates, providing a roadmap or time line and meeting those goals, those customers are more satisfied with their experience, even when it the process takes longer.” JP Power and Associates is a market information services provider that conducts surveys on a number of customer service sectors. Write to Austin Kilgore.