The Chief Executive Officer at Steinbach Credit Union says it's too early to say whether the credit union will gain more mortgage business because of change in federal mortgage regulations that took effect January 1st. The new federal rule involves a stress test that requires first time home buyers to qualify for an interest rate that is higher than the going rate so that there is a buffer in case rates rise. Glenn Friesen says the rule does not apply to credit unions the way it does to the banks.
"We are provincially regulated so we're not bound by this. But we're also in Manitoba. Home prices have increased in Manitoba, but nowhere near to the levels say in Vancouver or Toronto. As a credit union, we apply our own risk-based stress tests which are prudent for Manitoba, not necessarily for downtown Toronto or Vancouver. So if that gives us an advantage, we'll certainly take it. Will it give us a huge bump? I don't know. Time will tell."
Friesen notes there is one exception where credit unions must use the federal mortgage stress test and that is for CMHC mortgages which, he says, make up about ten per cent of their mortgage business at SCU.