SILVER SPRING, Md. — The share of mortgage lenders that maintain their own Web sites grew last year to 60% of those in a survey, up from 47% in 1999, according to Mortech LLC, a mortgage research firm.

The survey, based on interviews with almost 400 senior mortgage executives, also found that Internet technology spending grew 70% last year, to nearly $500,000 per company.

Jeff Lebowitz, president of Mortech, said that many companies initially invested in technology as a way to cut costs but today view such investments as a way to improve customer service.

“As the industry becomes more sophisticated, lenders want to control the interaction with customers,” he said in an interview. “And with the general failure of multilender sites, these companies have decided that it makes more sense to make their own.”

Nonetheless, Mr. Lebowitz said, 70% of the respondents were “totally unaware” of what XML, or extensible markup language, is — a finding he called striking. “Despite the fact that something like XML is very useful and can change the flow of data and documents in the industry, the word’s just not getting out,” he said.

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