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Beware of Mortgage Insurance Double Charges!

Blog Image, Mortgage Insurance, April 2019

We’ve all heard the saying ‘necessary evil’ – something that we need or must have but don’t necessary like. It’s kind of like taking cough syrup that doesn’t taste so good but you know you need it to feel better.

Default mortgage insurance is a necessary evil. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment with low interest rates.

But what if you bought a house, paid the CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty insurance… and a few years later you bought a bigger home or refinanced your mortgage for some home renos or debt consolidation?

Do you have to pay mortgage insurance again? If so, how much will this cost?

Continue reading “Beware of Mortgage Insurance Double Charges!”

Genworth Financial $50billion increase is good for Consumers

Genworth Financial CanadaThe Federal govt controls hi-ratio mortgage lending…. (mortgages that are greater than 80% loan to value)…  There is a $600 billion limit for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC… a federal corp).   And a $250 billion limit for Genworth Financial Canada (a private corp).

Last year, the govt reported CMHC was fast approaching it’s $600 billion limit and that it had no intentions of increasing that limit.  Then last month, the federal govt announced they would increase Genworth’s limit to $300 billon.  This gives Canada’s mortgage lenders some breathing room as it now appears as though there is enough room to cover mortgages for a few years…

WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION Continue reading “Genworth Financial $50billion increase is good for Consumers”

$600billion, $250billion, 2.99%, $1.5trillion… numbers to watch in 2012

$600billion….Recently, we heard that there was another crisis looming in the mortgage industry.  Last week, we saw CIBC make headlines when their wholesale lending division, Firstline Mortgages, made drastic changes to the lending policies, which included pulling out of the self-employment and new-immigrant lending programs. They also reduced their maximum mortgage limits.

So what happened?  Why did Firstline Mortgages make these changes?  Firstline told us this was in reaction to a report stating Canada’s self-employed and new-immigrant mortgages shared similarities with the U.S. Subprime mortgages.    But maybe there was another reason…  Shortly after this report, we got news that CMHC was approaching their mortgage limit.   The report said CMHC ‘s total insured portfolio was $541billion as of the end of Sept 2011.  The last increase was in 2008 when the govt raised the limit from $450billion to $600billion.    But now it remains uncertain if or when the govt will raise that limit… So now we have lenders and bankers wondering how this will affect the supply of mortgage insurance.. so, what do they do?  They cut out some of the less popular mortgage programs…  Nice, huh?

$250billion….But we are forgetting the private mortgage insurers.  Genworth Financial has stated they have plenty of capacity before they reach their govt approved $250billion limit (this limit is expected to increase to $300billion in a few months).  The only challenge for private insurers like Genworth, is that the govt only guarantees up 90% of it’s insurance to the lenders…. but 100% for CMHC .   This could case lenders to seek higher returns on their mortgages, meaning potentially higher interest rates…


2.99%….Remember that 2.99% No Frills rate special last month?  I can’t help but wonder what the executive boardroom was like when they saw their mortgage department come out with this rate…  at a time when the govt was clearly trying to cool the housing market and slow consumer borrowing…  It’s early in the year, but this has to go down as one of the most ill-timed moves of 2012…  Congrats BMO mortgage dept!  You did bring No Frills products to the forefront.  And this gave us a real opportunity to point out the shortcomings of this product..

$1.5trillion…Last years, we heard that personal debts levels had hit record highs.  Numerous articles and reports are telling us that we are borrowing too much.  Yes, it’s true, outstanding mortgage balances topped $1trillion for the first time in Canada.  That means $500billion of non-mortgage personal debt it out there.   And that number bothers me more than the mortgage balance.   Mortgage rates are at historical lows… home ownership and property investments should be encouraged.   But borrowing for new TVs, cars, computers and other items, should be discouraged.   We have to make a distinction.   GOOD DEBT VS BAD DEBT.  There is a difference.  Let’s not group all this debt in one category…


CMHC, Genworth double charge…. did you pay twice and not know it?

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘necessary evil’….. You know… something that we need or must have but don’t necessary like….  kinda like that cough syrup that doesn’t taste so good but you know you need it to feel better.

Default mortgage insurance is a ‘necessary evil’…. without it, we wouldn’t be able to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment with low interest rates.  But what if you bought a house, paid the CMHC or Genworth insurance….and a few years later you bought a bigger home or you refinanced your house for some home renos or debt consolidation?  Do you have to pay CMHC or Genworth insurance again?  If so, how much will this cost?

A Financial Planner’s story gives new meaning to ‘necessary evil’

One of my reader’s, a Financial Planner, shared a recent experience…. and I must admit, this isn’t the first time I have seen or heard about this happening…His client had a CMHC insured mortgage and then later wanted to refinance the mortgage for some home renos… It appears his client was charged FULL CMHC insurance premiums on the entire mortgage, AGAIN!!   This is not right…. and we call this DOUBLE CHARGING.

A CMHC or Genworth or Canada Guranty insured mortgage can be refinanced with REDUCED insurance premiums charged ONLY on the new funds. It is up to the submitting Lender or Banker to inform the Insurer that the current mortgage is already insured.    Unfortunately, I have seen and heard of other cases where the Banker did not have the experience or knowledge or cared to take the time to inquire if the current mortgage was already insured…  and then went on to simply process the application as a NEW CMHC or Genworth insured loan (Canada Guaranty is fairly new and I have not seen any cases involving them yet)…  And the borrower gets stuck paying the FULL COST again….

How much would a mistake like this cost?

Well, here’s an example and some formulas to follow…

Let’s assume we have someone who bought a house for $350,000 in January 2008 and they required a 95% loan to value mortgage, or $332,500.  They took a 35 year amortization. They would have paid mortgage insurance of 3.15% or $10,473.75 giving them an original starting mortgage balance of $342,973.75 (the insurance gets added to the mortgage and is not payable up front).

Fast forward to today…. their home is worth $402,000…their mortgage balance is approximately $331,149 with a 32 year amortization remaining…. they want to refinance up to 90% of the value of the home…  that would give them $40,200 in new funds and their mortgage would be $361,800 (before insurance)…  The borrower will be charged additional insurance on the new funds only at the rate of 4.65% or $1,869.30.….the new mortgage is $363,669.30.

But what if your Banker didn’t submit your application to CMHC or Genworth as a previously insured mortgage?  What if your Banker sends your CMHC insured mortgage to Genworth or your Genworth insured mortgage to CMHC?   What if you weren’t given credit for the previous insurance you had paid?   Think this can’t happen?  Guess again…it’s happened before and it sounds like it’s happening again.

And now the results of the Banker’s mistake

That same mortgage will cost you $6,813.90 in extra mortgage insurance.  That’s because your banker submitted your application to the insurer as an entirely new mortgage application.   You will be paying new insurance on the entire mortgage….  Here’s the formula:  $361,800 x 2.40% or $8,683.20… your new mortgage is $370,483.20….a difference of $6,813.90…. that’s right….an overcharge of $6,813.90…. and remember, this gets added to your mortgage so you are paying interest on this for 32 years!!… The additional interest will cost you another $4,915 in interest… that’s a grand total of $11,728.90 of unnecessary expense… this isn’t necessary, it’s just evil.

We can only hope that this problem isn’t widespread.   If you’ve experienced something similar then I suggest speaking with your Mortgage Broker to get a review… I would certainly be interested in hearing about it.

National Home Ownership Week April 12-16

Genworth Financial is kicking off the traditional Spring housing market with a week of Online seminars…  Each day has a different theme….The goal is to educate prospective homebuyers and borrowers so they can make informed decisions….

The website is and here’s the schedule of events…

Credit Day Reality Check Homebuying Basics Test Your Knowledge Tips on Purchasing and Owning a Home
Learn the importance of good credit and how your credit history is established Find out how to reconcile what you want with what you can afford Understand the steps of home purchasing in Canada Take the Homebuyer 101 course Find out the fast facts that will help make your dream home a reality