Most borrowers who deferred mortgages will resume payments, Canadian banks say

Scotiabanks says 99 per cent of borrowers whose deferrals have expired are current on their payments

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Three of Canada’s six biggest banks said Tuesday they expect most borrowers who took advantage of pandemic-related deferral programs to resume payments, countering fears of a sharp increase in impaired loans.

At Bank of Nova Scotia, 99 per cent of mortgage borrowers whose deferrals have expired are current on their payments, the lender said in a statement. Scotiabank now has $39 billion (US$30 billion) of deferral exposure, down from $41.5 billion as of July 31, and expects the “vast majority” of its remaining balances to expire this quarter, Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said in the statement.

“We are seeing signs for optimism as household spending continues to return to more normal levels and economic output continues to regain lost ground,” Porter said.

Bank of Montreal Chief Financial Officer Thomas Flynn said his bank has had a positive experience with commercial and consumer borrowers in both the U.S. and Canada who have come off deferrals and resumed payments. He said he doesn’t expect a “radically different outcome” for the loans that are still deferred.


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“We’re seeing the vast, vast, vast majority of customers returning to a status where they are making payments to us, and the existing deferrals will run off largely over the balance of the year,” Flynn said at a Barclays Plc conference Tuesday.

Royal Bank of Canada CFO Rod Bolger said that of the mortgages that his bank has on deferral, the average loan-to-value ratio is in the mid-50s and borrowers have average FICO scores higher than 750. About 75 per cent of the households with deferred mortgages are dual-income houses, he said.

“We’re not looking at seeing a big spike in foreclosures,” Bolger said at the Barclays conference. “We expect that these mortgages, as they come off the deferral programs, to remain the homes of our clients.”

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