Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mortgage Success: Does the Bank Matter?

New study from Ohio State University finds banking locally can impact mortgage success.

Researchers from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University have found that low-income homeowners who received a mortgage from a local lender were less likely to default on their loans than those homeowners who borrowed from a more distant bank or mortgage company, even when these borrowers received the same type of mortgage product.
The researchers studied loan performance of more than 20,000 homebuyers who purchased homes AFTER the foreclosure crisis began (between 2005 and 2008). They examined the location of bank branches relative to where the homebuyers purchased their homes and found that higher-risk homebuyers with loans from banks with branches close to their new homes (less than 10 miles) were significantly less likely to default on their mortgages.

Can a personal relationship affect loan repayment?
As with large, non-local banks and many mortgage brokers, most local lenders base their lending decision on ‘the numbers’ like credit scores. HOWEVER, many local lenders place more weight on other factors, such as length of current employment, and whether you make regular deposits in a savings account.

“This kind of information may give a more complete picture of whether a person can really afford a mortgage, particularly for higher-risk borrowers,” said Stephanie Moulton, one of the researchers from Ohio State University.

“Some of the local bankers told me they won’t even look at a credit score until they have talked to an individual and determined if they think he or she can make the payments.”, she added.

The researchers believe that if there’s an existing business/personal relationship, the borrower may feel more obligated to make their payments, and the banks may provide more education and information to the borrowers, equipping them to be better homeowners.

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center truly believes that arming potential homebuyers with the ‘education and information’ that Moulton mentions is THE KEY to long-term successful homeownership. There is an entire chapter of the Home Stretch curriculum dedicated to helping potential homeowners navigate the mortgage loan process… including how to choose a lender and a loan product. For more information, visit the MN Home Ownership Center’s website, here.

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