Customer satisfaction with mortgage originators is on the decline as the time from loan application to approval has grown to 27.5 days, up from 20 days last year, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The time frame for the entire origination process increased for a third consecutive year, reaching 52.1 days in 2010, up from 46.9 days in 2009, J.D. Power said.

Overall customer satisfaction with the loan application and approval process, loan officer or mortgage broker, and closing, dropped five points in 2010, to 734 on a 1,000-point scale.

Quicken Loans ranked highest among 14 primary mortgage lenders evaluated, with a score of 826. Other originators beating the industry average were MetLife Home Loans (808), PNC/National City Mortgage (776), U.S. Bank (775), SunTrust Mortgage (770), Branch Banking and Trust (767), Fifth Third Mortgage (767), Wells Fargo (758), GMAC Mortgage (746) and Provident Funding Associates (743).

Scoring below the industry average of 734 were Flagstar Bank (708), Chase (699), Citi (691) and Bank of America (676).

The study found nearly 20 percent of borrowers started the mortgage application process online, up from 14 percent in 2009.

The percentage starting the mortgage application process in person fell from 33 percent to 29 percent, and only 50 percent said they met with their loan originator in person at all during the process of obtaining their loan, compared with 57 percent in 2010.

Loan originators who scored highest excelled at providing updates on the status of the loan application, avoided asking for the same information more than once, closed on the date promised, and clearly explained loan options and the application process, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

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