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 Banks operate under the scrutiny of government watchdogs. But when it comes to mortgages, those watchdogs don’t watch everything they could.

“Individual (bank) mortgage reps operate outside of regulatory boundaries, which commonly govern licensed professionals,” says Samantha Gale, a former mortgage regulator with BC’s Financial Institutions Commission and CEO of the Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia. Rules pertaining to mortgage rep competency, the suitability of mortgage recommendations and compensation disclosure are largely left to the banks themselves.

That raises certain questions, like the procedure banks use when sending a mortgage applicant to another lender.

At RBC, for example, mortgage reps route applicants that don’t meet normal guidelines to their Alternate Mortgage Solutions (AMS) team. RBC’s AMS employees then farm those customers out to other lenders and the bank’s mortgage rep gets paid when the mortgages close.

Some might easily mistake this practice for “dealing in mortgages,” an activity that normally requires a brokering licence. But, because bank employees are the ones recommending the alternative lenders, and because banks are federally regulated, they aren’t bound by tough provincial rules that make it an offence to broker without a licence.

Click here for more details from the Globe and Mail.

A handful of con artists misusing the rent-to-own model are increasingly running afoul of provincial mortgage broker legislation, claiming they can arrange home loans without broker accreditation.

“Unfortunately it is not uncommon,” CAAMP CEO and President Jim Murphy told “It is the second or third source of complaints in Ontario (unlicensed activity). It sends a message that people should use licensed Realtors and brokers.”

A new CBC report is detailing the growing number of websites popping up and offering to bring together buyers and sellers in rent-to-own deals, an enticing offer for buyers who can’t get conventional financing and owners who can’t sell in slow market. They’re distinctly different from the many reputable rent-to-own programs that operate within the law, many relying on mortgage professionals to refer deals.

Still some sites specifically claim to arrange mortgages, outside the involvement of brokers.

Click here for the full article.

Last Friday’s non-bubbly housing start numbers and weak employment data should not distract Canadians from two key points. First, after a short, sharp economic shock, Canada’s economy began its recovery in late spring 2009 and has hardly paused since. Second, in comparison with the US, the EU, and especially the UK, Canada’s performance has been stellar.

Canada’s performance certainly bought attention in the UK, where some of the credit has rightly landed in the lap of Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney.

Last week, Carney landed in London for a public pre-entry interview by the House of Commons treasury committee, which wanted to know how he would manage monetary policy at the Bank of England, where he takes over in July. The committee had not previously held such a hearing for an incoming governor. Nor, to my knowledge, has a Canadian central bank governor previously given such detail on his thinking on monetary policy and managing another country’s money and financial market regulation – 45 densely written and footnoted pages.

Carney made clear that the institutional and regulatory factors that may have contributed to Canada’s relative success may not transport well to the UK. But he did not use the word “luck,” which many economists would describe as a key feature in Canada having missed the brunt of the globally protracted economic storm. (The technical economic term is “horseshoes.”)

Click here for more from the Globe and Mail.

Scott Smith, 24, is an MBA student. He’s proud of paying his bills on time and having an excellent credit record.

So, he was surprised to find his credit score had plunged when he checked in with the two Canadian credit bureaus. There was a new “derogatory” item from a collection agency acting on behalf of Cogeco, a telecom supplier.

Seems there was an unpaid debt arising from the cable TV box he had rented as an undergraduate and tried to return in 2010. He didn’t know the package hadn’t arrived by mail.

“I’ve now paid the balance in full, but the damage to my otherwise sparkling credit record appears to be done. This blight cannot be removed from my credit history for six years. Cogeco seems unwilling to delete it,” he said.

There is recourse if you’re at an impasse with a credit granter over a debt. You can ask Canada’s two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, to intercede on your behalf.

Click here to read more from The Star.


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