Coronavirus: Canada’s big banks to allow mortgage payment deferrals

Canada’s big six banks will allow mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months as part of extraordinary measures to help customers struggling with the financial impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Neil Parmenter, president of the Canadian Bankers Association, said the measures are “effective immediately.” RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC and National Bank will also offer “opportunity for relief” on other credit products.

In a joint press release, the big six banks said they are committed to working with retail and business customers on a case-by-case basis to provide “flexible solutions” for those facing hardship due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The announcement comes as Canada’s housing agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), has been working to ensure struggling homeowners aren’t forced into default during the health-care emergency.

“The message that CMHC is putting out is just that no Canadian should default as a result of this health crisis,” said James Laird, president of CanWise Financial, an independent mortgage brokerage.

On Monday, CMHC announced it would bring back a revised version of the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program it used during the 2008-09 financial crisis. The government plans to purchase up to $50 billion worth of insured mortgage pools.

The move, CMHC said, is meant to “provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders in order to ensure continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses.”

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