Lenders Struggle With Pandemic Customer Service

It’s a tough time to be a social media manager for a mortgage lender.

Stymied by long wait times or seeking details on loan forbearance or deferrals, customers take to Twitter and Facebook to vent their frustrations and seek a way to get somebody – anybody – to call them back during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all that’s going on, many customers are calling us and our hold times are extremely long. We’re sorry – we’re doing all we can to help as many people as possible,” Chase tweeted, attaching some tips to find online help.

It did little to soothe the masses.

Banks and lenders are being walloped by the perfect storm of customer service challenges.

They are inundated with forbearance applications, Paycheck Protection Program funding inquiries, credit card payment flexibility requests, or simply help in managing their accounts.

On the forbearance front, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced this week that requests skyrocketed in early days after the passage of the $2 trillion CARES Act as homeowners seek financial relief in the face of the pandemic. Forbearance allows borrowers with a federally backed mortgage to put off payments for at least six months if they suffer economic hardship during the pandemic. The law requires lenders to approve forbearance if requested by the borrower, touching off a scramble by homeowners as bills came due this month.

Forbearance requests grew by 1,270 percent between the week of March 2 and the week of March 16, and another 1,896 percent between the week of March 16 and the week of March 30, the Mortgage Bankers Association announced Tuesday. The share of loans in forbearance grew from 0.25 percent to 2.66 percent between March 2 and April 1, according to MBA’s forbearance and call volume survey.

It also jammed phone lines.


The lenders’ accounts increasingly respond to each complaint, with links to websites or seeking loan information and contact information to connect them with someone who can help.

As the health experts keep warning, the nation still has a way to go before this is behind us – and that includes social media teams and the untold number of customers reaching out to them day and night.