Two Out of Three Consumers Say Mortgages and HELOCs Harder to Obtain: Survey

The credit crunch is impacting not only consumers’ ability to get credit, and how they use it, but also– at least for some–their mindset towards financial institutions, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Deloitte LLP‘s financial services industry group and released Friday morning. According to those who have attempted to secure several types of credit and mortgage products over the past year, a majority found it to be more difficult. Of those who applied for a home mortgage, 67 percent found it more difficult; for a home equity line of credit (HELOC), that number was 65 percent. “Given that more than 90 percent of those surveyed believe the U.S. economy is experiencing little or negative growth, it is not surprising that consumers are restricting spending and delaying large purchases,” said Jim Reichbach, Deloitte’s financial services industry practice leader. “Quite simply, they do not want to extend themselves further. At the same time, banks have limited access to credit for some consumers, while more aggressively targeting the better credit-quality consumer.” Despite the negative headlines that financial institutions have been receiving in the United States, the survey found that two out of three consumers held the same perception of their primary financial institution as they did before the crunch. For the 5 percent who actually said the see their relationship as more positive, they cited enhanced customer service and an increased number of products and incentives to choose from as top reasons. On the opposite side of the coin, 15 percent of survey respondents have come to view their banking relationship more negatively over the past year. For those who have changed banks (5 percent overall), the key reason specified was a rise in costs and fees. “As past surveys have shown, financial institutions have not done a good job at engendering customer loyalty and, given the events of the past year, need to re-establish consumer trust,” said Adam Schneider, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, who works with banks and other financial institutions. “Business models are changing and some of the best-run banks are taking steps to strengthen their credit and mortgage businesses. They recognize that when balance sheets are rebuilt they will have to restart lending, but are likely to be more conservative and focused on the most credit-worthy.” For more information, visit

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