In 2012, OSFI asked federally regulated lenders to apply the same rule to all variable and 1- to 4-year fixed mortgages, regardless of equity. But credit unions, which are provincially regulated, were not bound by this guideline.
As a result, some credit unions today let conventional borrowers qualify for variable-rate mortgages using significantly lower rates. That makes it easier to get approved when your debt ratio is above average.
How much easier?
Consider a qualified borrower making $70,000 a year. As of today, that person can get a variable-rate mortgage as high as $483,000 at some credit unions. At a bank, he or she would be capped out at roughly $413,000.