8/30/2020

Mr. Cooper: Sloppy letter

This letter from home loan provider Mr. Cooper merits multiple Fails for Creative.

Mr. Cooper home loan offer letter
"Pre-Approval" Letter


The letter opens with a headline reading "You're Pre-Approved* for a New Home Loan." Then, the first sentence after the salutation reads, "Whether you're bying a home or refinancing ...Those two bits of copy don't align, which can be confusing. If Mr. Cooper is offering a new home loan (as stated in the salutation), then why the quick change to refinancing in the sentence immediately following? If Mr. Cooper is offering pre-approval for a home refinancing, why not have a headline reading "You're Pre-Approved for a Home Loan" without suggesting the pre-approval is restricted to the purchase of a new home?

The letter's Call to Action is to contact Mr. Cooper's call center. These days, many call centers are open 24/7. Mr. Cooper's hours, however, are limited to 9-14 hours a day, Monday - Saturday. Fair enough. Home loan purchasing is not like auto insurance, where you might want Jake from State Farm to take care of you in the middle of the night. However, the call center hours are hard to find on the letter. They are located under the company's address, when they would be more appropriately positioned near the phone number the reader would call.

The letter contains several grammatical and formatting errors. Some examples:
  • There are three problems in this one sentence: "Call today to see if your could lower your monthly payment, payoff your home faster, pay less interest or other loan benefits.
    • The diction is incorrect in that a person does not place a phone call to "see" something. A person places a phone call to "hear" or "learn" something.(Had there not been other errors in the same sentence, I might have passed this off as a copywriter's creative style.)
    • The sentence lacks parallel structure in that the reference to "other loan benefits" lacks a verb.
    • The word "payoff" is improperly applied. As written, "payoff" refers to bribing someone. The sentence should have used the term "pay off," written out as two words.

  • In the line listing call center hours, there is an extraneous space at the front of the line.

  • For readability, that same line should include commas after the days of the week, e.g., "Mon - Thu, 7 am - 9 pm CT..."

  • In the opt-out box at the bottom of the letter, the word "pres-screen" is treated inconsistently -- once with a hyphen and twice without.
If potential customers see so many errors in a business's one-page letter, why would they believe the business is capable of properly handing a mortgage application or that the business could accurately prepare required documents for a home sale closing?

In other words, Mr. Cooper needs to clean up his act.

Lessons:
  1. The body copy of a marketing communication should support the headline.
  2. Include your call center hours in context.
  3. Proofread your communications for language and grammar. 
  4. Ensure your formatting is consistent and your letter is visually clean.