RBC charges homeowner $8900 penalty, or 15 months interest charge!

RBC-BankPicture this… Your mortgage is with the biggest Canadian Bank in Canada.  You feel sBankstersafe.  You got a great rate at the time… 2.99%.   What could go wrong?  Well, for these clients, and hundreds others, plenty!

Check out the RBC Discharge stmnt oct 2014 showing an Interest Rate Differential (IRD) prepayment penalty of $8912 on a mortgage balance of $213,562.   Now, $8912 is a lot of money, but you’ve seen me expose even higher penalties in the past.   Penalties as high as $35,000 and $40,000.   But, put another way, that’s over 15 months worth of interest penalty being charged.   And that’s just ridiculous!

NEWS FLASH!  This type of inflated prepayment penalty calculation isn’t exclusive to RBC, the rest of the BIG SIX BANKS use a similar calculation.   And they’ve been getting away with these outrageous penalties for over 14 years!  (actually, this isn’t a new story.. I’ve been writing about these nightmare, or bankmare, penalties for years.)

Let me put this another way…. Read the rest of this entry »

Senior Deputy Governor says lower rates are the new normal.

Carolyn Wilkins In her first public speech as Senior Deputy Governor for the Bank of Canada, Carolyn Wilkins brought some good news to Canadians with mortgages.    Interest rates should remain low for some time….. and we can expect lower rates to be the “new normal”.

Ms. Wilkins went on to say that “the recovery has had repeated false starts and still faces considerable headwinds.”  This seems to be the new message coming from the Bank of Canada.  And I must say, it’s a refreshing change from the previous high-profile Governor, Mark Carney.

UNPOPULAR COMMENTS

Remember our previous Bank of Canada governor?  Mr. Carney earned high praise for helping Canada avoid any U.S. style recession.   But in the years leading up to his 2013 departure, his repeated warnings of pending interest rate hikes never materialized.  In fact, we now know they were way off.  Interest rates went down and have stayed down.    Looking back, Carney’s rate hike warnings sounded more like ‘the boy who cried wolf’. Read the rest of this entry »

More disclosure.. but still no standardization of Mortgage Penalties.

Olive and harper Last week, we heard some potentially good news for Canadian consumers.  Federal Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, announced Banks would have to provide consumers more disclosure on certain products, including collateral mortgages.  We welcome more disclosure.

However, before we get too excited and give the Federal govt too much credit, let’s wait to see if this latest promise really happens.   If you are wondering why I’m so skeptical, it’s with good reason.  The Federal govt has not honored their commitments before.  And I’m talking about the promise made to Canadians to charge a fair prepayment penalty…  Remember that one? Read the rest of this entry »

Federal govt finally takes action on Collateral mortgages.

handcuffsTD Almost 4 years ago, I reported that TD was about to make one of the biggest changes in mortgage history.   They were about to register all their mortgages as a collateral charge.    Consumer advocates spoke out against the collateral charge as they recognized it would limit a borrower’s future options.

A collateral charge is always used for secured lines of credit products.   The charge does not require an amortization which allows the credit balance to go up and down.   Using a collateral charge for ALL mortgage products gives the Banks more power.   It allows them to attach other unsecured debt to your mortgage…  Unsecured credit products such as loans, credit cards, unsecured lines of credit or other unsecured Bank debt.  I bet most people don’t know that?    Read the rest of this entry »

News stats..Higher debt, but lower defaults

debt aminationSaw this article today about higher consumer debt levels BUT lower defaults.   Equifax Canada is quoted as saying that consumer debt rose by 7.2% in  the second quarter 2014 to $1.45 trillion ,compared with $1.35 trillion from a year ago. This includes credit cards, loans, lines of credits and mortgages.

The average Canadian now has $20,759 in personal debt, excluding mortgages.   That’s a 1.5% since last year.   So that means mortgage debt has risen by around 7%.    Here’s a heads up… you will see and hear articles sounding the panic alarm… again.

Well, before we hit that panic button, there was one more stat that we should pay attention to.   DEFAULTS.   Defaults are at their lowest level since 2008.  If higher consumer debt levels and lower defaults sound strange to you, it shouldn’t.    I’ll explain… Read the rest of this entry »

Variable or Fixed? an update on how to choose.

Variable rate mortgage

FIXED OR VARIABLE?

The debate over fixed vs variable never seems to end.   For the past 5 years, the Federal govt and the BIG SIX BANKS have been doing everything in their power to force us into choosing a 5 year Fixed rate.    The govt says it gives us security and protection against the anticipated interest rate hikes.   BANKS jumped on this bandwagon because 5 yr fixed is the most profitable mortgage product.. and with fixed rates hovering at 3.00% for the last 3 years, it’s been an easy sell.

On the surface, it’s not bad advice.    Fixed rates were supposed to go up.   The spread between Fixed and Variable has been less than 1.00% over the last 3 years.     My rule of thumb is that Variable rates should be 1.00% lower than 5 yr fixed in order to benefit from the possible rate fluctuations.   So naturally, 5 yr fixed was a better choice.

DO YOU TRUST YOUR GOVT AND YOUR BANK? Read the rest of this entry »

But it came in a beautiful box?!

canadian-money-giftIf I gave the option of choosing between 2 cell phones, which would you choose?   Both phones had similar specs and were identical in almost every way… except PHONE 1 came in a nicely gift wrapped box with a bow on it.   PHONE 2 came in brown paper bag but was less expensive and also had slightly better options.

Most of us would choose PHONE 2 right?  Wrong!   When it comes to mortgages, most of us are focusing too much on the beautiful gift box and not paying enough attention to the contents.  They say around 47% of all mortgages go through a BANK and 39% go through a Mortgage Broker.   Broker share is up, but not enough in my opinion.

When it comes to mortgages, the BIG SIX BANKS have been charging higher rates than what can be had from MORTGAGE BROKERS (see Bank of Canada study ‘competition in the Canadian mortgage market).   And their inflated prepayment penalty calculations are now infamous (typical BIG SIX BANK penalties are around 4 times higher than other lenders).
Read the rest of this entry »

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