Mortgage Maze

A recent item in the Globe and Mail clearly itemizes the unnecessary complexity regulators have introduced into the mortgage marketplace.  The OSFI B20  guideline succeeds in making mortgage qualification, rate comparison, and prepayment penalty regimes less borrower friendly.  The new guideline may ‘protect consumers’ from themselves and protect banks from excessive risk taking.  However, we […]

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What is the Difference?

The National Credit Union conference next week has been pitched as exploring the credit union ‘difference’.  It is common to hear the CCUA and some other advocates for credit unions make a general reference to the ‘difference’.  The CCUA home page includes this text: Credit unions are full service financial co-operatives. Like other financial institutions, […]

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Trust and conflicts of interest at Banks

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada said consumers are being ripped off, when it issued its report on bank sales practices in March.  The  report got far too little attention.  In technocratic language it confirmed that virtually all of Canada’s banks pursue their own interests – not the interests of ordinary people. The primary finding […]

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New Government Proposals

Today the BC Ministry of Finance issued its consultation paper on changes to the Financial Institutions Act and the Credit Union Incorporation Act.  The first 43 of the 68 recommendations relate to general issues and credit unions; the remainder being related to insurance and trusts. As a package, the government has responded well to BC […]

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Court Action Challenges Coast Capital Decision

A member of Coast Capital Savings is seeking a BC Supreme Court judicial review of Coast’s application to become a bank, specifically the provincial regulatory approval.  Coast is pursuing plans to convert to a ‘federal credit union’ under the Bank Act (Canada), which is defined as a bank that is cooperatively owned.  But to do […]

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OSFI puts it to Provinces?

The recently announced B-20 Guideline from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) places new income qualifications on borrowers when obtaining a conventional mortgage at federally-regulated financial institutions (FRFI), mostly banks.  Borrowers will have to prove they can afford a loan at @200bp above the quoted rate. The tougher debt servicing test is […]

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Fair Taxes

The recent proposals from the federal government to reduce certain tax advantages available to small business has met strident resistance from those who may have to pay more tax, and from others who just want to slag the Minister.  The Minister has argued that the special provisions give too many benefits to the very wealthy. […]

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Debt and Housing Bubbles

More commentary has come out on the exceptional levels of household debt in Canada.  These sometimes speak directly to the issue, such as described in the Borrowing Binge in the Vancouver Sun, or as a negative outlook provided by Moody’s when assessing the exposure of Canada’s banks.  The latter makes explicit references the level of […]

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Trimming Excessive Home Ownership Subsidies

While the cost of housing has prompted much debate, too little attention is on the heavy subsidies granted to residential real estate investment and the way in which these subsidies have caused price inflation. Fortunately, the Government of Canada mortgage insurance program is being scaled back.  The restrictions introduced late in 2016 are ‘cooling the […]

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