Direct Marketing Falters Amid Industry Downturn

If you’ve been looking for some good news amidst the wreckage that has become much of the mortgage industry these days, perhaps the fact that a few less trees died last year marketing refinance or home equity lending offers will do the trick. Last year saw a sharp decline in mortgage and home equity direct mail offers, with lenders sending approximately 2.6 billion direct mail pieces during the year — off nearly a third from the 3.7 billion send during 2006. “People have tightened up spending, home sales are down, and there’s not a lot of faith in the market,â€? says Farah Huq, market research manager at Mintel Comperemedia, who sponsored the study. “With fear of recession and many Americans struggling just to make ends meet, it makes sense that lenders have backed off direct mail advertising for the time being.â€? Mortgage-specific mailings dropped during 2007 as lenders sent just 1.7 million offers, a notable decline from the 2.6 million sent in 2006. Direct mail campaigns for adjustable-rate mortgages declined more sharply, falling 72 percent last year, while fixed-rate direct mail campaign actually increase by 14 percent, according to the study. Home equity lending also felt the blow of the housing downtrun as well last year; lenders cut back offers for home equity lines and loans by 21 percent in 2007, with total mailings falling below 1 million pieces. Mintel noted that eight of the top 10 mortgage and home equity marketers from 2006 reduced their total offers sent in 2007. Of those that cut back, half reduced direct mail campaigns by more than 60 percent from 2006.

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