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RISMEDIA, Jan. 9, 2008-The housing market may be in the doldrums, but the long-term outlook for the industry is looking good as Generation Xers – people born between 1965 and 1979 – enter their peak home-buying years.

New research encompassing 230,000 mortgage loan applications from over 1,100 lenders using Dexma’s mortgage technology found that Gen Xers represent more than 50% of their mortgage customers. Additional research also established that the majority of borrowers (64%) had a credit score of 680 or higher, which led to instant approvals in 58% of the applicants who went through a brief – less than 10-minute – online application process.

“Plenty of quality Gen X borrowers are going to online sites and they’re expecting and getting instant approvals,” said Steve Mase, Dexma president. “This is the single most important factor in improving pull-through rate and increasing loan volume.”

Despite the fact the mortgage relationship is critical to cross-selling other financial products, not all community banks offer mortgage loans to their customers. Running an effective mortgage operation requires banks to meet Gen Xers where they’re at: online; and most haven’t built the kind of Web presence needed to reach and serve these Internet-savvy borrowers. In fact, only 18% of banks surveyed by America’s Community Bankers in their 2006 Real Estate Lending Survey said they can approve or reject applications online.

The timing of this information is critical in light of the current shift in the mortgage market.

“Recent headlines about subprime mortgage lenders that went out of business likely reinforced many Gen Xer’s distrust of large, impersonal institutions and brands,” said Steve Mase, Dexma president. “This is probably good news for smaller banks that can offer a competitive rate together with a ‘do-it-yourself’ Web site and fast, personalized service.”

The rewards of a fast, self-service Web site can actually be measured in dollars and cents: a Web transaction costs the lender an average of 25 cents, while Gartner Group estimates a phone call will cost the lender closer to $5 or $10.