Coventry Building Society, First Direct and Nationwide have been named the best mortgage lenders of 2020, based on a combination of customer feedback and expert Which? analysis of the deals they offer.
We spoke to more than 3,600 homeowners and analysed thousands of mortgage deals to find out which providers combined great customer service with unbeatable mortgage rates.
Coventry Building Society, First Direct and Nationwide were so good that we named them Which? Recommended Providers.
Read on to discover how other major mortgage lenders fared, plus the most common issues homeowners face with their providers.
In addition to its table-topping deals, borrowers like the way that First Direct keeps them informed about their mortgage, its transparency on fees and its online services.
Nationwide was popular with homeowners for its overall customer service and payment flexibility (scoring five stars for both), while Coventry achieved a five star rating for its transparency of charges.
Customers gave Chelsea two stars for customer service, flexibility and value for money.
The table below shows how lenders ranked for key elements of customer service, covering everything from value to money to online services.
In June and July, we surveyed 3,625 members of the public to find out how satisfied they were with their mortgage lender. We received enough responses to rank 23 banks and building societies.
We combined these customer ratings with a comprehensive analysis of which providers offered the cheapest deals.
In July, our experts compiled 208 'top 10' tables based on a range of borrowing scenarios, and counted each time a lender featured in a table.
This meant that we could rate lenders based on the quality of both their products and their customer service.
Overall, 86% of UK mortgage holders said they were satisfied with their provider, and 82% said they would recommend their lender to a friend or family member.
But despite this overall vote of confidence, 27% of homeowners told us they'd had a problem with their lender.
The main issues included poor customer service, a lack of flexibility and being unable to switch to a cheaper deal, each of which affected 5% of respondents, and poor interest rates and restrictions on overpaying, which were both a problem for 4%.
Price and familiarity were crucial factors for homeowners when they chose their current mortgage lender.
Around one in five (22%) respondents said they chose the lender due to the size of the monthly repayments, while a similar number (21%) said the overall cost of the deal was key.
Another 21% said an existing relationship with the lender (i.e. having a with the provider) was a key factor, a figure underlined by more than half (56%) of respondents saying they applied directly to banks rather than .
When it came to choosing a deal, cost and flexibility were key factors. The chart below shows which features homeowners considered important when comparing deals.
This time of crisis meant quality customer service became even more important than before.
Overall, 22% of homeowners told us they contacted or attempted to contact their lender after the pandemic began, with 61% of those requesting a mortgage payment holiday. But amid a barrage of calls from customers, banks struggled to process requests quickly.
More than half of the borrowers who contacted their lender (56%) said they had a problem. Being stuck on hold for a long time (29%) and never hearing back after leaving a voicemail message (17%) or email (12%) were the most common complaints.
If you're still having problems paying your mortgage due to COVID-19, you can apply for a mortgage payment holiday until 31 October.
If you're looking to apply for a mortgage to buy a new home or switch to a cheaper rate, you may find the process takes much longer than usual, with banks still struggling to keep up with demand.
If you're looking to get a mortgage and don't know where to begin, we're here to help.