Canada NewsFinanceNews

OSFI confirms new limits on banks’ mortgages to highly indebted borrowers

Article content

Canada’s top banking regulator will begin tracking and limiting how many highly leveraged borrowers banks have on their mortgage books beginning next year.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) said its new test will not apply to individual borrowers, but to each bank’s overall mortgage portfolio.

Article content

It will monitor quarterly loan-to-income ratios to ensure the percentage of a bank’s uninsured mortgage loans that is in excess of 4.5 times borrower income stays below a specified threshold.

Article content

The regulator characterized the new measure as a “backstop” to the existing mortgage stress test that assesses an individual borrower’s capacity to manage payments if interest rates rise.

High-leverage debt in bank mortgage portfolios, in particular, comes with debt-serviceability risks the regulator is trying to mitigate.

The new portfolio measure is aimed at mitigating a perceived “vulnerability” in the financial system, but OSFI initially intended to set a uniform cap on high loan-to-income loans across all lenders. Following industry feedback, however, the regulator opted to look at each financial institution individually, taking into account different risk appetites and ensuring the new measure did not interfere with competition. 

“Whereas this 4.5x multiple will be common across all institutions, the portion of the new bookings that will be allowed to exceed this multiple will be unique to each institution and its bespoke competitive model,” the regulator said in a statement on Friday. “This approach will allow institutions to continue competing on a relative basis as they have done in the past.”

Share this article in your social network

View Article Origin Here

Related Articles

Back to top button