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Bank of Canada's Rogers Urges Banks to Shift Approach on Mortgage Lending

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Bank of Canada Urges Banks to Reconsider Mortgage Lending Approach

The Bank of Canada's senior deputy governor, Carolyn Rogers, has called on Canadian banks and regulators to closely examine mortgages that have allowed households to accumulate significant long-term debt as interest rates rise. Rogers expressed concern about "negative amortization" mortgages, which allow borrowers to make fixed payments even as interest rates increase. While this approach may temporarily reduce the impact of higher borrowing costs, it extends the amortization period, resulting in borrowers paying little to no principal on their loans. Rogers emphasized the need for the industry to reflect on the offering of such products and the potential risks they pose to both banks and mortgage holders. Rogers's comments shed light on the mounting downside risks facing the Canadian economy and financial system, particularly as highly indebted households face the renewal of their mortgages. The Bank of Canada's focus remains on restoring price stability and achieving its 2% inflation target. Rogers stated that slowing core inflation is a crucial factor for policymakers to consider lowering rates, and they are likely to maintain the possibility of additional rate hikes until significant progress is made towards the target. She also highlighted that unexpected price pressures and excess demand could prompt further rate hikes. As the first non-economist to hold the senior deputy governor position, Rogers has been instrumental in the Bank of Canada's aggressive interest rate hiking cycle. However, stubbornly elevated price pressures and signs of economic weakening have led to a pause in rate hikes. The central bank now expects a return to the 2% inflation target in the latter half of 2025. With the economy showing signs of potential contraction and rising unemployment rates, the need for banks to reassess their mortgage lending practices becomes increasingly important.

Impact of Bank of Canada's Stance on Mortgage Lending on New Businesses

The call from the Bank of Canada's senior deputy governor, Carolyn Rogers, for banks to reconsider their mortgage lending approach could have significant implications for new businesses, particularly those in the financial sector. Rogers' concern about "negative amortization" mortgages, which allow borrowers to maintain fixed payments even as interest rates rise, highlights the potential risks these products pose to both banks and mortgage holders. For new businesses in the financial sector, this serves as a wake-up call to critically examine their product offerings and assess the long-term implications. The focus should not only be on meeting immediate customer needs but also on ensuring these products do not lead to unsustainable debt levels for customers or pose significant risks to the business. Furthermore, Rogers' comments underscore the broader economic risks, including rising inflation and potential economic contraction. New businesses must be cognizant of these macroeconomic factors as they can significantly impact business operations and profitability. The potential for further rate hikes underscores the need for new businesses to have robust financial planning and risk management strategies. In conclusion, the Bank of Canada's stance on mortgage lending is a reminder for new businesses of the importance of responsible product offerings, comprehensive risk assessment, and proactive financial management in a fluctuating economic environment.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/bank-of-canadas-rogers-urges-shift-by-banks-on-mortgage-lending
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