Even though more people are satisfied with their mortgage lenders compared to a year ago, the big lenders are still lagging behind the leaders according to Which?.

Customer satisfaction is currently 62%  compared to last year’s rate of 58%, which is a 4% increase. Many lenders have performed better in all areas of service.

The smaller lenders and building societies are still leading the field in terms of customer satisfaction. First Direct scored the highest with a customer satisfaction rating of 91%. One Account scored next highest with 77%, followed by Coventry Building Society with 75%, then Britannia Building Society with 74%.

The big lenders generally scored below the average  with Halifax only scoring 45%, followed by Northern Rock at 47%, Abbey at 50%,  Barclays at 52%  and the Royal Bank of Scotland at 53%.  The four worst lenders in 2009 were also among the worst  in 2008.

Consumers reported they are more satisfied with the clarity of their bank statements as well as how they are informed of the dates of any rate changes. Yet one is four consumers are totally dissatisfied with the information provided by lenders as to the best deals available .

Which? Money’s five top mortgage tips:

  1. Always search the market for the best deals available at price comparison websites.
  2. Select a fixed interest rate when you want to have a specific mortgage payment instead of a flexible rate that will make the monthly payments vary.
  3. If you do decide to select a flexible interest rate, make sure you can afford the payments when the rates increase in amounts up to 3%.
  4. Remember to take the mortgage fees into consideration as well as the interest rate when selecting a mortgage loan.
  5. Before selecting a mortgage, seek the advice of an independent advisor or broker for additional information and suggestions.

Editor of Which? Money, James Daily believes that the cost of the mortgage deal is the top priority for most when selecting a mortgage lender and reiterates the importance of shopping around  for the best mortgage and to always consider all the fees associated with the mortgage loan to avoid paying more for the loan over the years.