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Mad about your mortgage? Twitter is your best friend

They're watching you. They know when you express frustration about your mortgage. They know when you compliment or complain about them on Twitter and Facebook.

They're your bank and they're on top of social media like you wouldn't believe.

I realized that for the first time after witnessing this Twitter exchange last winter.

This client tweeted about changing lenders and RBC responded to him in 42 minutes flat. That's actually a long wait by today's standards as some banks aim to respond to troubled Tweeters in less than 10 minutes.

The Big Five Canadian banks all have social media armies who are continually on the lookout for comments about their brand. They stand at the ready to support customers, process leads, collect customer feedback for the bank bigwigs, and diffuse negative comments.

Indeed, Canada's financial titans are investing millions in social media. And for good reason. One in five Canadians now use the likes of Twitter and Facebook to gather mortgage information, up 43 per cent in two years, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

TD Canada Trust is just one of many examples. It mans its @TD_Canada Twitter account 17 hours a day, seven days a week. "If you tweet to us, you will get a response," says Wendy Arnott, the head of digital marketing and social media at TD Bank Group. "The response time is really quick," less than 10 minutes in most cases, she adds.

This year, TD also became Canada's first major bank to let people text customer service questions. It says that more of its customers are texting than using social media.

You can text any number of mortgage questions to shortcode "TDHELP." Customers use it mostly for general inquiries like requesting appointment times with mortgage specialists, checking advertised rates, and finding out how to change the account that their mortgage payments come out of.

"Texting is becoming ubiquitous, especially for younger people," says Ms. Arnott. She envisions a day when all Canadian banks can authenticate clients via text, permitting secure discussions about their mortgage. Banks in Asia are already using SMS to fully service banking clients, so the security technology does exist.

As for complaining about your mortgage rate online, there's no research to show that protesting your bank's mortgage terms on social media gets you a better deal, but people do it anyway, and banks answer fast.

The average Twitter user has a couple hundred followers. Banks are well aware of how easily you can share your mortgage experiences on social media, and they try to ensure you're sharing positive experiences.

So if you like (or don't like) your bank's mortgage quote or advice, tweet about it just for fun. Then see what kind of response you get.

Robert McLister is a mortgage planner at intelliMortgage and founder of RateSpy. You can follow him on Twitter at @RateSpy

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