Bank mortgage practices top list of most complaints

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Speak with your mortgage broker to ensure you have all the information you need to make an educated decision when obtaining a mortgage.

Prepayment penalties for mortgages are one the most complained about issues among Canadian banks, according to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.

“The banking products and issues consumers are complaining about mirror last year for the most part, dominated by credit and debit cards (chargebacks and fraud), mortgages (prepayment penalties), and chequing and savings accounts (account closures and collections),” Brigitte Boutin, deputy ombudsman, banking services, said in the Ombudsman annual report for 2015.

Prepayment penalties have long been a thorn in brokers and, indeed clients, sides.

Brokers complain about the different calculation methods used to charge clients these penalties. And banking clients are often unaware of their very existence.

And it isn’t just prepayment penalties that are earning complaints from mortgage clients.

“We are seeing a lot of complaints related to mortgages: penalty, pre-approved mortgages – and portability of a mortgage has become a bigger issue,” Boutin said. People sometimes take for granted that their mortgage is portable before selling their home.

“It’s interesting – we’ve seen cases where the bank refused portability because the borrower’s financial situation no longer met the bank’s lending criteria. However, the client was able to get approved somewhere else right away.”

In terms of preapprovals, the Ombudsman has seen an increased number of complaints.

In many cases, banks have failed to verify all application details before issuing a pre-approval. When it comes time to finalize the deal, the bank asks for further information.

“Sometimes that new information will lead the bank to change financing terms or refuse financing altogether,” Boutin said. People can then get caught, especially if they removed the condition for financing on their offer to purchase a home.”

To read the entire report, click here.

Justin da Rosa      14 March 2016

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