Radius’s New ARM + Monoline Q&A

To some brokers, Radius Financial is perceived as just another monoline lender selling plain-Jane insured mortgages. Until now, its shortage of competitive products had a lot to do with that. But Radius took a big step on Monday by adding a range of new mortgages.

Headlining its new lineup is a red-hot prime — 0.70% adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). It’s a high-ratio full-frills full-comp product with 20/20 prepayment options and a standard (i.e., fair) penalty. Radius also added a new conventional mortgage line with better, albeit not spectacular, pricing.

These moves will only help Radius, whose submission volumes rocketed 300% last year versus 2011 — albeit from a relatively small base. That growth ranked it second in the industry among the top 20 lenders. (It opened up to all brokers in 2011. Previously, it was a proprietary lender for Mortgage Architects.)

To handle that growth, Alex Haditaghi, Chairman and Founder of Pacific Mortgage Group (Radius’s parent) says the firm has hired 18 staff in the last 12 months. That includes top underwriters lured from two of the four biggest broker lenders.

While researching this story we had an informative exchange with CEO Ron Swift about Radius’s funding and strategy. His feedback also reflected what other monolines face these days when putting out competitive products.


B2B’s “Business for Self Expanded” Mortgage

Entrepreneur plan to startup successRemember the “good old days” when self-employed borrowers could readily obtain stated income mortgages to 80% loan-to-value? It could take years before those days return to the prime mortgage market, if ever.

But a few lenders still offer out-of-the-box solutions for business-for-self (BFS) clients, and B2B Bank is one of them. A few weeks ago it launched its “BFS Expanded” product, a unique mortgage for those who’ve been self-employed for at least two years, with bank statements to support their income.


IG’s 1.99%. Some Odds of Note

Investors-GroupInvestors Group’s 1.99% variable-rate special is already making life harder for competitors. Clients are contacting their bankers and brokers and asking, “Is this mortgage right for me?” and “Can you match this rate?”

Mortgage advisers are actively, and in many cases rightfully, selling against this mortgage. The fine print speaks for itself, albeit it’s still a spectacular deal.

We asked ourselves (and answered ourselves) the following questions.


The Down Payment Hurdle

canadian dollar houseNine out of ten Canadians would rather own than rent, according to a new Genworth Canada study.¹ But the down payment often stands in their way.

A recent Vancity poll found that 60% of first-time buyers in B.C., for example, find down payment requirements to be a barrier to home ownership.

Nationally, 53% of homebuyers are worried they might miss their dream home because they’re short on the down payment.


MCAN & Xceed’s New X-Series Mortgage

Xceed_MCANXceed Mortgage has been reinventing itself ever since the financial crisis, when liquidity dried up and killed its bread-and-butter business: uninsured non-prime mortgages.

Since then, Xceed has offered mostly plain-Jane insured mortgages…until now. The company has launched a new X-Series mortgage. It’s an uninsured product that competes with the likes of Home Trust, Equitable Bank and Optimum Mortgage.

The launch reflects both Xceed’s end goal (to be more than a run-of-the-mill insured lender) and the capabilities of its new owner, MCAN.



A New Option for Rental Financing: Street Capital

Street-CapitalFinancing a rental property has become tougher and tougher in recent years. So any time a new rental lender comes along it’s a positive for investors.

The latest option comes from Street Capital, one of Canada’s largest non-bank lenders. Its new “Small Rental Program” launched today.

The best part: It comes with no rate surcharges and no insurance premiums up to 75% loan-to-value (unlike many other rental lenders).


Meridian Hits the Magic Number: 2.99%

label isolated on white backgroundUnlike the banks, Meridian Credit Union doesn’t worry about calls from the Department of Finance urging it to price 5-year mortgages above 3.00%. It’s a good thing it doesn’t because the company, Ontario’s largest credit union, has rolled out a new 2.99% five-year fixed mortgage.

On an advertised basis, it’s the lowest 5-year fixed rate of any lender in the country, according to CMT’s sister site RateSpy.com. The mortgage comes with a 45-day rate hold and all the bells and whistles, including a 20% annual prepayment privilege, portability (within the province), bridge financing, optional skip-a-payment, etc.

“We wanted to get out there early (in advance of the spring market),” said Bill Whyte, Chief Member Services Officer at Meridian.