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The problem with using infrastructure to stimulate the economy
1/18/2016 8:01:21 AM

The immediate boost to the economy from infrastructure stimulus spending is minimal, while the cost for any new jobs it creates can be huge

Should my children withdraw from their RRSPs to buy a house?
1/16/2016 7:03:56 AM
Question from Tony, 65, Calgary: My two children are planning to buy a house. They were preapproved for a mortgage loan of $520,000 at 2.64-per-cent interest, fixed for a term of five years. They are looking at buying a house costing about 600,000. For a down payment, is it advantageous to withdraw all their tax-free savings account and registered retirement savings plan investments to reduce their projected monthly payment of $2,464. It seems they wouldn’t like to touch their TFSA & RRSP investments.
The close: TSX, Dow plummet as oil prices extend relentless dive
1/16/2016 7:00:16 AM

A record losing streak in the loonie, plunging bond yields and about $150-billion wiped out in the stock market has left Canadian investors hanging by a thread. Panic is starting to set in.

“The word fear is finally starting to come up,” Martin Pelletier, managing director and portfolio manager at TriVest Wealth Counsel in Calgary, said. “Clients and people are starting to panic. It’s sinking in, but no one knows what to do.”

What the Royal Bank of Canada mortgage rate uptick means
1/16/2016 2:32:31 AM

Royal Bank of Canada rates on several of its mortgages are a little higher today. For instance, the special offer five-year fixed mortgage is up one-tenth of a point to 3.04 per cent.

To make sense of the changes, CBC News spoke by phone with Dan Eisner, the CEO of True North Mortgage. He was in Calgary.

The lesson home buyers should take from RBC’s mortgage rate hike
1/16/2016 2:31:44 AM
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5 Downsides of a Reverse Mortgage
1/16/2016 2:30:57 AM
A Home Equity Conversion Reverse Mortgage (HECM), more commonly known as a reverse mortgage, is often used as a means of income for retirees. For those age 62 or older, these loans can provide guaranteed income during retirement (See also: 6 Ways to Guarantee Income in Retirement).
Layoff insurance 'suitable for the times,' Edmonton business says
1/16/2016 2:28:41 AM
With a nod to Alberta’s faltering economy, an Edmonton business is offering layoff insurance to cover up to six months of mortgage payments for homeowners who lose their jobs.
Province didn't warn borrowers about problems with mortgage broker
1/16/2016 2:27:27 AM
Dennis Khanna in December, it had been more than a year since they had flagged dozens of violations of Ontario mortgage regulations in a review in the summer of 2014. 

But if you had looked on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario's website anytime before last month, you would see no sign that the province had concerns about the business. Khanna had assured them in fall 2014 all would be proper going forward.

A more extensive follow-up provincial review last fall raised allegations of hundreds more violations in Khanna's file and led to the December suspension.

But in the time between the two investigations and the order suspending his license — more than a year — potential customers may have been unaware there was anything to worry about.

Mortgage broker commissions spark heated debate
1/16/2016 2:26:18 AM

B.C.'s mortgage brokers are up in arms at a proposal by the province's financial institutions regulator to force them to disclose the exact amount of their commissions to clients.

The Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) claims enhanced conflict-of-interest rules are needed to protect consumers in B.C.'s superheated real estate market.

But the proposal has sparked a fierce outcry from brokers who claim the move will play directly into the hands of banks which would like to portray the industry as a hidden cost to consumers.

"It's an un-level playing field," said Gary Mauris, president of Dominion Lending Centres.

Sean Cooper pays off mortgage in 3 years and earns online hate
1/16/2016 2:24:52 AM

When Sean Cooper burned his mortgage papers after going to extremes to pay off his house in three years, he never imagined it would get folks so fired up.

But after CBC News reported Cooper's story late last year, reader comments flooded the internet, either praising or reviling the 30-year-old's financial achievement.

"What is he going to do next, buy a car and sell one of his kidneys to pay for it?" snarled one reader.

An era of cheap interest rates has helped ignite an escalating and troubling household debt binge. The topic has become such a touchy one it can spark polarized opinions, finger pointing and even contempt.

2015’s Effects Carry Over
1/16/2016 2:13:19 AM
The events of 2015 were another reminder that the mortgage market never stops evolving, especially when it comes to policy-making. CMT’s Top 5 stories of last year (listed below) told part of that tale.
Mortgage Professionals Canada Gets New CEO
1/16/2016 2:12:51 AM
After a 5-month search and a laborious selection process, Canada’s largest mortgage association finally has a new executive leader.

Mortgage Professionals Canada announced today that, effective Monday, Paul Taylor will be its new CEO.

Taylor, 40, comes with ample organization experience. He was formerly the Director of Operations for the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) for 5+ years, and in the association’s management for five years before that. Coincidentally, IBAO is the same group that former CAAMP CEO Jim Murphy moved to last July.

December home data comes in
1/16/2016 2:11:11 AM
National home sales fell 0.6% in December from November to December, but increased 10% year-over-year.

Buyers trying to get ahead of changing mortgage rules faced obstacles last month.

“An increasingly short supply of listings in Vancouver and Toronto blunted the impact of changes to mortgage regulations announced in December that were aimed at cooling these housing markets,” CREA President Pauline Aunger said in a release. “Buyers there had been expected to bring forward their purchase decisions before new regulations take effect in February 2016, but they faced a growing shortage of supply. Meanwhile, supply is ample in many other major urban markets, particularly those where buyers have become cautious amid economic uncertainty.”
Broker miffed by rate shopping advice
1/16/2016 2:10:35 AM
A recent article on a wide-reaching personal finance magazine plugged the benefits of rate shopping; but did it ignore some important pieces of the mortgage puzzle?

“Want to save more than $53,000 on the purchase of a home? Then be prepared to comparison shop for the best mortgage rates and terms,” a recent MoneySense article reads. “According to a new RateHub.ca survey, consumers that shopped around for the best rates saved $53,089 (based on a $500,000 mortgage, amortized over 25 years)—the difference between a lender’s posted mortgage rate and the discount rate, over a five-year term.”
Equitable adds online bank to lure deposits from Canadian rivals
1/16/2016 2:09:52 AM
Equitable Bank, the Canadian alternative- mortgage provider, is jumping into the online banking business with a savings account that pays more than triple the interest rate of other branchless rivals.

Equitable started signing up customers this week for its EQ Bank, offering 3 percent interest on savings with no fees or minimum balance requirements. The account allows daily transactions including bill payments, e-transfers and moving money via computer or mobile phone.
Another major bank joins chorus of economists predicting interest rate cut
1/16/2016 2:09:03 AM
The Bank of Montreal updated its forecast Thursday to predict the central bank will cut its key interest rate next Wednesday when it releases its updated forecast for the economy.

The bank cited low oil prices and weakness in the Bank of Canada's recent business outlook survey among its reasons for its new forecast.
BoC rate cut no panacea, warns economist
1/16/2016 2:08:30 AM
The urgency of dealing with the effects of global oil price crashes may trigger a rate cut, TD Bank Group vice president and Chief Economist Beata Caranci said in a statement released on Wednesday (January 13).
Caranci emphasized that a rate adjustment won’t serve as a cure-all for the ailing economy. In fact, all signs currently point to Canadian markets underperforming in 2016, with real GDP growth now projected to be 1.5 per cent (against the Bank’s original 2 per cent target).
Analysts: BoC needs to end its insular ‘black box’ policy
1/16/2016 2:07:43 AM
Amid the backdrop of a struggling economy, shrinking commodity wealth, and reduced business investment in the first half of 2015, industry observers have called on the Bank of Canada to end its apparent ‘policy’ of secrecy.
Last January, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz implemented cuts on interest rates, shocking the public who considered the move irrational.
Hamilton housing sales to soar through 2016
1/16/2016 2:06:51 AM
This will see the Hamilton housing market continue outperforming other locations, according to economists and other industry observers.
Figures from realtors’ organizations stated that as much as 16,000 properties have been sold in Hamilton and Burlington last year, amounting to around 9 per cent more homes sold between January and November 2015 than in the same period in 2014.
Canadian housing industry posts healthy 2015
1/16/2016 2:05:43 AM
Last year saw improved health for the Canadian housing industry despite a slight tail-end downturn, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said on Monday (January 11).
2015 saw a solid pace of growth in most months, with the most significant numbers seen in high-demand locales such as Vancouver which boasted the greatest number of housing starts in over two decades.
Brokerage with online focus tapped as number one
1/16/2016 2:04:47 AM
Virtual Brokers has one again ranked number one for Best Online Broker by The Globe and Mail.
“We are happy to have made it to this milestone in our journey to become Canada's best online broker and will perform our best to continue our rapid company growth,” said Kambiz Vatan-Abadi, Chief Operating Officer of Virtual Brokers and BBS Securities Inc. “We encourage our clients and all Canadian investors and traders to stay tuned as our new series of innovative services will be launched soon.”

The Globe's score card is based on five categories: The client experience (30%); the Cost (25%); Account reporting and maintenance (25%); Research and tools (15%); and Innovation (5%). A final grade was given to each online brokerage based on these categories.
Making yourself indispensable
1/16/2016 2:03:40 AM
My observation of the mortgage broking world during the last 15 years has shown me that we have a choice.
1. Race to the bottom and fight for the lowest rate for the client (which we can almost never achieve due to the banks’ online presence), or
2. Become a lynchpin for our clients, the trusted adviser, indispensable
Hot Canadian housing market a ‘global anomaly?’
1/16/2016 2:02:36 AM
Last year marked the 19th in a row for consecutive price appreciation in Hogtown. Prices have also increased 214% since 1996, according to one real estate firm.

"The overall strength and stability of Toronto's housing market is a global anomaly," Ken McLachlan, broker-owner of RE/MAX Hallmark Ltd., said in a release. "Very few large residential housing markets can compete with the GTA's performance over the past two decades."
CIBC latest lender to increase some of its mortgage rate product
1/16/2016 2:01:43 AM
CIBC has become the latest among the big Canadian banks to increase some of its mortgage rates.

The bank (TSX:CM) said Tuesday it had raised its special offer, three-year fixed rate by 10 basis points to 2.59 per cent.

Meanwhile, its special offer, four-year fixed rate has also gone up by 10 basis points, to 2.84 per cent.
Federal finance minister paints bleak picture of economic growth prospects
1/16/2016 2:00:51 AM
The federal finance minister spoke of pitch-black moments in his morning shower and some darkening clouds for the Canadian economy as he kicked off his national budget consultation tour in Halifax on Monday.

Bill Morneau drew chuckles from a business audience at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce as he described a morning power outage that occurred while he was covered in soap lather.
The minister said it's just the latest in a series of challenges he's facing as he sets out to prepare his first budget amidst a declining economy.
Variable rate mortgage rates hovering on historic low
1/16/2016 1:59:51 AM
With the Royal Bank of Canada’s implementation of the latest round of mortgage rate increases last week, banks and other major lenders have begun lowering the discounts for floating rate mortgages.
Even with the new 2.6 per cent rate average on variable-rate products, however, this is still considered by industry observers to be among its historically lowest levels. To compare, fixed-rate mortgages with five-year terms currently enjoy a rate of 3.04 per cent.
Taking advantage before rate hikes
1/16/2016 1:59:15 AM
Brokers will have a leg-up on the competition – at least for the next few weeks – and should look to take advantage, according to one industry veteran.

“Monoline rates will definitely increase in the near future … but until then brokers will benefit from RBC and other banks increasing their own rates,” Walid Hammami, a broker with Dominion Lending Centres, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Once a lot of monoline business comes in, they will also increase their rates a bit.”
Does struggling economy have a silver lining for brokers?
1/16/2016 1:58:38 AM
Once again, the Canadian economy showed signs of struggle as the December jobs report showed gains only in Ontario, while jobs were flat or down in every other province.

“We are likely to suffer continued weakness in the Canadian dollar and the underperformance of the Canadian stock market. Mortgage rates are rising and government actions to cool the housing market will also contribute to downward pressure on the economy,” said Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres. “However, the weak loonie will help to spur exports and to attract foreign capital. Tourism will no doubt rise.”

Latest stats: Prices and number of Edmonton houses up
1/16/2016 1:57:43 AM
According to the latest official figures, the end of 2015 saw 5,088 homes up for sale, exhibiting a sharp increase from the previous year’s 3,059 properties.
Industry observers attributed this rise to the currently low mortgage rates driving greater purchase volume. Another possible contributing factor is the proliferation of infill housing in the city.
In turn, the intense competition among buyers is spurring a consistent increase in real estate prices, with the average for single-family properties now sitting at $437,569 and condos at $252,954.
2015 in review: Home Capital posts stable fundamentals despite growth loss
1/16/2016 1:56:55 AM
Canadian residential mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. (OTC:HMCBF) continues to enjoy a healthy bottom line despite a noticeable loss of growth last year, which saw a drop of 37 per cent compared to its earnings per share in 2011.
Industry observers attributed the decline to issues in mortgage documentation. In 2015, Home Capital terminated its relationships with 45 brokers who have falsified their borrowers’ income information. These brokers represented approximately 10 per cent of the company’s mortgages outstanding.
It’s Quebec to the rescue as Canada consumer optimism stabilizes
1/16/2016 1:56:12 AM
A seven-week decline in optimism by Canadian consumers has stabilized, with a rebound in Quebec helping buttress fading fortunes in energy-rich prairie provinces coping with the oil price shock.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index held steady this week at 53.8, unchanged from a week earlier while remaining below the 12-month average of 55.4, telephone polling by Nanos Research shows. The index measures consumer expectations for the economy, real estate, job security and personal finances.

The stabilization in confidence is due overwhelmingly to the increase over two weeks in Quebec, the country’s second- most-populous province, where sentiment rose to 56.6, the highest since November and exceeding the 12-month average of 54. Expectations slid in the prairies, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, while increasing slightly in British Columbia.

Top tips for successful goal setting
1/16/2016 1:54:16 AM
These questions need to be answered in order to snag that potential client:
Final housing start stats revealed
1/16/2016 1:53:08 AM
HCMHC released its final housing starts report for 2015 on Monday morning.

The trend measure for housing starts in Canada edged down to 203,502 in December from 208,204 in November. Total starts for the year, meanwhile, increased.

The measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly annual seasonally adjusted housing starts.
Government data a boost to broker optimism
1/16/2016 1:52:15 AM
The latest numbers are in and they give reason for brokers, especially, to be optimistic.

Statistics Canada released its employment numbers Friday and, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged, one segment received an injection of new talent. And it’s a segment known to turn to brokers for their mortgages.

The country added 40,000 self-employed people to the workforce in December, according to StatsCan.

Good news for brokers.
Analysts: Chain reaction of increases in bank-funded mortgage rates possible
1/16/2016 1:48:58 AM
In a bid to cool down Canada’s surging housing market, which has seen real estate prices reach unprecedented heights (up to double in high-volume areas like Toronto and Vancouver), the federal government has announced increases to the rates of bank-funded mortgages – a move that analysts said could be mimicked by major lenders.
Industry observers agreed that a chain reaction of increases would be understandable – indeed, inevitable – as banks would attempt to maintain solvency amid a backdrop of recession.
Poloz sees lasting policy divergence as U.S. rates rise
1/16/2016 1:48:14 AM
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he expects a lasting divergence in policy between the U.S. and resource producers such as Canada struggling with collapsing commodity prices.

The global economy is reacting to a “seismic shift” that will generate higher incomes in resource-importing countries, while requiring lengthy economic adjustments for exporters, Poloz said in a speech Thursday in Ottawa. In fact, rising U.S. interest rates may actually act as an additional downside risk to the Canadian economy by driving up long-term borrowing costs, he said.

The end of the monetary illusion magnifies shocks for markets
1/16/2016 1:47:27 AM
Central bankers are no longer the circuit breakers for financial markets.

Monetary-policy makers, market saviors the past decade through the promise of interest-rate reductions or asset purchases, now lack the space to cut further or buy more. Even those willing to intensify their efforts increasingly doubt the potency of such policies.

That’s leaving investors having to cope alone with shocks such as this week’s rout in China or when economic data disappoint, magnifying the impact of such events.
Cashing in on the rate announcement
1/16/2016 1:46:22 AM
It may be an odd move by the biggest of the big banks but it’s one that brokers can use to their advantage, according to one industry veteran.

RBC announced earlier this week that it would hike its interest rates effective Friday, and with tradition showing monolines usually follow suit, brokers could be well served to take the opportunity to reach out to clients set to renew in the near future.

Poloz ready with unconventional tools if needed to fight shock
1/16/2016 1:43:12 AM
Canada’s central bank is prepared to deploy “unconventional” tools if needed to curb lingering damage from a slide in oil and other commodity prices.

“We have a number of tools at our disposal--both conventional and unconventional--to mitigate risks to our inflation target or to our financial system, should they arise,” Governor Stephen Poloz said in the text of a speech he’s giving Thursday in Ottawa, which will be followed by a press conference. “The Bank of Canada will continue to run an independent monetary policy, anchored by our inflation target, and we will use our tools to manage risks along the way.”
Broker charged with sexual abuse
1/16/2016 1:42:15 AM
Hamilton police say they've charged a local mortgage broker with sexual assault.

They say the charges stem from an incident in September of last year when a female client went to the man's office on King St. W.

Police allege the woman was sexually assaulted during that visit.

They arrested 60-year-old Dinesh Khanna of Oakville last month and charged him with one count.

Police say they believe there may be other victims and are encouraging anyone with information to come forward.
Analyst: Mortgage rate hike might prompt market cool down
1/16/2016 1:41:33 AM
With the Royal Bank of Canada’s announcement on Tuesday (January 5) of mortgage rate increases that are slated to take effect Friday, a macroeconomics and currency analyst said that a possible side effect of the hike is a cooling down of the red-hot real estate market.
Jing Pan, author at Profit Confidential and a research analyst/editor with Lombardi Financial, speculated that the hike might make significant waves across the sector. Currently, Canadian real estate prices, especially in high-volume areas such as Toronto and Vancouver, are among the steepest they have been historically.
Big bank makes unique offer to try to entice clients to switch
1/16/2016 1:36:54 AM
by |
Scotiabank is currently offering potential clients the chance to switch their mortgage over – and earn 24 free movie passes for their trouble.

Not the most enticing offer – it will save avid movie goers $355, based on ticket prices at downtown Toronto’s most central Cineplex.

However, the bank claims the switching process is easy and that it would even cover transfer and discharge fees.

A fee-free chance to for a client to switch their mortgage and earn free movie passes?

Not quite.
Seniors look to their home for financing the future
1/16/2016 1:35:39 AM
Canadian seniors consistently report that they prefer to live at home and age in place, instead of moving to assisted living. Yet, they also report that financial challenges are the biggest hurdle to doing so.

A recent report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) shows that 93% of seniors live at home and prefer to age in place. And, HomEquity Bank statistics support this, reporting that 60% of retired Canadians describe staying in their home as critical to their quality of life.
New rule from banking regulator to make lenders absorb more risk
1/16/2016 1:34:44 AM
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) said on Friday (January 1) that it plans to revise existing mortgage rules that give elbow room for lending banks to ignore the effects of housing slowdowns.
The proposed changes include revisions to the amount of capital that banks and private lenders alike should hold as insurance to guard against delinquent mortgage loans, effectively imposing a tax on lending entities.
Canadian dollar suffers its historically longest slump
1/16/2016 1:34:06 AM
The Canadian dollar welcomed 2016 with a record-breaking duration of decline, registering a 16 per cent drop versus the U.S. dollar over the past year.
The drop marks an unprecedented third consecutive year of the loonie’s poorest performance since 1970, having lost more than 25 per cent of its value since 2012 (from USD 1.01 to USD 0.7227).
Lighter side: New rooftop rink unveiled at Toronto building
1/16/2016 1:33:26 AM
In an Instagram photo posted by user @triptime1965 on Monday (January 4), a new hockey rink was revealed atop a 26-floor office building in downtown Toronto.
The picture showed that 120 Adelaide St. W. is now playing host to a fully furnished rooftop rink equipped with boards. The construction of the facility has started before Christmas, according to the Instagram user.
Clients don’t want to make decisions so stop giving them choices!
1/16/2016 1:32:42 AM
In Denmark, only 4% of the population have registered as organ donors. However, in Sweden, 86% of the population have registered as donors. Why is there such a large difference between two countries that are arguably culturally similar? It turns out that the difference is simply because of how the car registration form is designed. In Denmark you have to opt-in to be an organ donor i.e. tick the box to become a donor. However, in Sweden you have opt-out i.e. tick the box if you do not want to be a donor. This is one of the examples that Dan Ariely cites in his TED talk called “Are we in control of our own decisions?” (Google it).

This and other studies demonstrate that when people are faced with complex decisions that they care about, they will often pick the easiest solution. That is, if there is a default choice – a choice that is made for them, most people will pick that.
FICOM publishes open letter
1/16/2016 1:31:20 AM
The B.C. regulator has released an open letter to the industry, outlining its plans for future compensation disclosure while also inviting further broker comment prior to implementation.

The letter, which was sent to MortgageBrokerNews.ca by a FICOM representative, explains its proposed plan to require brokers to disclose, in dollar terms, commission and volume bonuses earned on deals, as well as other rewards the broker may earn from the lender.
Broker fighting allegations following FSCO suspension
1/16/2016 1:30:35 AM
A broker’s license has been suspended following complaints of a sexual nature, among numerous other allegations – allegations he denies.

FSCO has suspended the mortgage broker license of Dinesh (Dennis) Khanna, and his brokerage Metro Financial Planning, following numerous complaints against the Hamilton-based mortgage broker.

None of the allegations have been tested in hearing.
Exclusive talk with DLC heads
1/16/2016 1:29:25 AM
The dust still hasn’t yet settled following the announcement that Dominion Lending Centres had acquired Mortgage Architects in a deal that may not have ever come to fruition.

“We weren’t certain, quite frankly,” Gary Mauris, president of DLC, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca when asked about the confidence the company had mere months ago that its bid for the superbroker would beat out the competition.
Exports, oil rebound no panacea for Canada, bank economists say
1/16/2016 1:28:32 AM
The troubles that plagued the Canadian economy last year are going to persist through 2016, but things may be a bit brighter by the end of the year, according to a panel of chief economists at the country’s five biggest banks.

Here’s what they’re expecting for the world’s 11th biggest economy, which is on pace for 1.2 percent growth in 2015 after being dragged down by the collapse in commodity prices:
Today in absurd real estate…
1/16/2016 1:27:31 AM
Once the playground of the rich and famously wild, a magnificent ocean-to-harborfront estate on Paradise Island in The Bahamas is set to hit the auction block January 14. Known as Kilkee House, its storied history as titillating as a Jackie Collins novel, past owners include a dashing playboy who was heir to the A&P fortune and later, the esteemed Irish actor Richard Harris. Starting bid: $10 million.

The 11,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, home was built more than 70 years ago by Huntington Hartford II, a handsome sophisticate better known for his attention to stunning women than business. Rarely seen without a beauty on his arm (unless there was one on each), Hartford was a visionary who dreamed of transforming a spit of land a short boat ride away from bustling Nassau into a hideaway for the wealthy who wanted nothing more than sunshine and privacy in cold winter months.
Fed playing Whac-A-Mole faces limits in hammering asset bubbles
1/16/2016 1:26:52 AM
What’s more, the potentially dangerous speculative activity has a tendency to shift outside the regulated banking industry to places where the Fed has less oversight and control, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams told the American Economic Association’s annual conference.

His colorful reference to the arcade game where players try to hammer critters that randomly pop out of holes highlights one of the themes that have emerged at the San Francisco meeting: The central bank is going to have a tough time countering speculative excesses that might threaten the health of the financial system in the future.
Brokers comment on acquisition
1/16/2016 1:25:59 AM
t was another feather added to the cap of the country’s largest network, one that industry professions are saying points to the strength of the industry.

Dominion Lending Centres acquisition of Mortgage Architects “is good for us; it gives us a bigger presence in the industry and more clout with lenders,” Walter Faria, a mortgage agent with Mortgage Architects, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It’s nice that we now have the backing of DLC.”
Fading real estate prospects sour Canada consumer sentiment
1/16/2016 1:25:12 AM
The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index fell to 53.8, from 54.5 a week earlier, the seventh consecutive decline, with the energy-rich prairie provinces reaching their lowest level in seven years, according to telephone polling by Nanos Research Group. While optimism about job security and personal finances has remained relatively stable, expectations for home prices have dropped after the government moved to tighten mortgage rules.
Guest column: The Big Short – an American film about America
1/16/2016 1:24:31 AM
Many Canadians, particularly those in Vancouver and Toronto where real estate is spoken of like a sport, will gravitate to the film The Big Short over the coming weeks. It is an adaptation of an excellent book written in 2010 by Michael Lewis. As a Canadian Mortgage Broker who read the book when it came out to better understand the differences between the two countries' mortgage markets, I was into a theatre within the first few days of its release.

Short version:
Ryan Gosling is the only significant Canadian content in this film.
Forget Fed hike – oil prices are real concern
1/16/2016 1:23:46 AM
The stock market seems to like it – but a lot of other elements are going to drive the markets more than just what the Fed did, says Dominion Lending Centres chief economist Dr. Sherry Cooper, and the biggest concern right now should be oil prices.

“Oil prices continue to flounder, and for Canada that is a huge deal,” says Dr. Cooper. “In the U.S. it is probably not bad news, but it certainly is bad news for Canada and the Canadian dollar.”
Canada pension plan adds huge real estate investment to portfolio
1/16/2016 1:22:57 AM
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has entered into a joint venture to purchase student housing properties in the United States for a total of US$1.4 billion.

The deal would see CPPIB and global investment firm GIC each own a 47.5 per cent stake in University House Communities Group.

The Scion Group, a U.S. owner and operator of student housing communities, would own the remaining five per cent and manage the properties.
Three keys to creating a positive culture
1/16/2016 1:22:09 AM
Maintaining a positive company culture is vital – particularly in today’s ever-changing world of work. One expert argues that employers cannot facilitate change without establishing a culture to suit a diverse workforce.

“It’s difficult for organizations to implement change if they don’t promote a collaborative culture,” said Charles Ashworth, vice president of employee success at FinancialForce.com. “Working within a collaborative environment aids in removing barriers or walls within the workplace.”

So, what do you need to address to uphold a healthy company culture?
Mortgage growth expected to slow as Canadian banks assume more risk
1/5/2016 12:13:57 AM

It’s going to get more expensive for Canadian banks to do business in the country’s housing market as the government seeks to limit its exposure to surging home prices and the risk of default.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which oversees federal banks and insurers, is seeking to raise the amount of capital that lenders hold to back residential mortgages, while the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. is increasing the cost to securitize those loans. The result will be increased standards at the banks, narrower margins, and a slowdown in the issuance of mortgages and lines of credit.

Waiting to see if new mortgage rules will pop a bubble or prevent one: Don Pittis
1/5/2016 12:12:12 AM

I guess it's not much use saying that something should have been done sooner. To some extent, you have to give the new federal government credit for making an attempt to put a lid on what so many experts fear is a Canadian property bubble.

The debate now is what impact the move to increase down payments on houses worth more than $500,000 will have.

Broker network announces acquisition of a major competitor
1/5/2016 12:10:11 AM
Dominion Lending Centres has acquired Mortgage Architects.

The broker network will now boast close to 40% market share, with a combined $32 billion in annual mortgage volume.

Dominion Lending Centres is thrilled to welcome Mortgage Architects and its team into the DLC family,” Gary Mauris, president and CEO of Dominion Lending Centres, said in a release. “Since its inception in 2005, Mortgage Architects has been a strong brand in the Canadian mortgage space.
Real estate silver lining in year of 'serial disappointments' - Poloz
1/5/2016 12:09:20 AM
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz summed up the Canadian economy best by calling it “another year in the serial-disappointment series.”

For investors in Canadian assets the disappointments ran the gamut from stocks to bonds to the currency as the collapse in commodity prices sapped growth in the world’s 11th-largest economy. So let’s catalog the pain, say good riddance to Canada’s horrible year and contemplate sunnier days ahead:
Abu Dhabi, Canada Funds buy US properties for $3.15bn
1/5/2016 12:08:38 AM
A unit of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, one of the largest Canadian pension investment managers, purchased 209 U.S. industrial properties from Exeter Property Group for $3.15 billion.
The buildings have 58 million square feet (5.4 million square meters) of space and are located in 25 markets throughout the U.S., according to a statement Thursday. The properties are used by both Internet and traditional retailers, suppliers and wholesalers, the companies said.
Blackstone buying US centers from RioCan for $1.9bn
1/5/2016 12:07:41 AM
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is ending its six-year foray into the U.S. with a deal to sell its 49 shopping centers in the country to Blackstone Group LP for $1.9 billion.
The sale to the Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII fund will provide capital for RioCan’s recently announced acquisition of 23 properties from Kimco Realty Corp. and to cut debt, Canada’s largest retail landlord said in a statement Friday. The U.S. shopping centers are located in the Northeast and Texas.
Creative strategic alliance
1/5/2016 12:06:50 AM
Strategic alliances are referral partnerships that provide a win-win benefit for both parties. In most cases, your strategic partners will be other complementary businesses (not competitive) that have the same target market as you do. For example, you could partner with Realtors, financial planners, accountants, divorce attorneys, real estate attorneys, insurance agents, etc.
Brokers take concerns to politicians
1/5/2016 12:05:44 AM
Five brokers from three different networks expressed their worries about proposed disclosure rule changes to members of legislative assembly.

“I think the meeting went really well,” Laurie Baird, a broker with Verico Complete Mortgage Services, said.  “We each handled part of the meeting and referenced the position letter provided by Mortgage Professional Canada; I think the MLA's are interested in supporting our position and we’re going to find out why this move by FICOM was initiated.”
New Ottawa mortgage rules could diminish 2016 housing sales
1/5/2016 12:04:47 AM
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said that Canada home sales – which are projected to reach an eight-year record high of 504,000 by year’s end – might drop next year in response to recent changes to mortgage rules.
Effective February 15, 2016, the federal government will set the minimum down payment from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for any home valued at above $500,000. CREA officials warned that as much as 10 per cent of sales could be affected by the new rules.
Lagging wholesalers and inflation show weak Canada recovery by | 21 Dec 2015
1/5/2016 12:03:56 AM
Falling wholesale sales and slower than expected inflation add to signs that a drop in crude oil prices is damaging Canada’s economic recovery.

Wholesale sales dropped by 0.6 percent in October from the prior month, the fourth straight decline. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast an increase. Statistics Canada also reported Friday from Ottawa that consumer prices in a so-called core basket of goods also had a surprise decline in November from October, the first time in a year it registered a drop.

The reports suggest Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s two interest-rate cuts this year may not be enough to kickstart growth. Inflationary pressures are muted even as the Canadian currency slumped Friday to the lowest since 2004 against its U.S. counterpart.
Federal government to raise capital that lenders need to back mortgages by Ephraim Vecina | 21 Dec 2015
1/5/2016 12:03:03 AM
Mortgage growth is projected to slow down after the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced its intention to increase the capital requirements for lenders who will back residential mortgages, experts said.
In addition, the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. is contemplating a raise on the cost to securitize home loans.
Observers said that these moves are in line with the federal government’s effort to stave off further price increases. Costs have spiked up by an average of 9.9 per cent, translating in a rise to $621,883 in Toronto and to $893,864 in Vancouver.
OSFI, brokers recognize fraud risk
1/4/2016 11:56:43 PM
Less than a week following fresh mortgage rule change announcements, OSFI is expressing its concern over inadvertent mortgage risk in the channel; for their part, many brokers are already doing what they can to avoid the issue.

“Just this week we had a client who provided documents, and we could tell the income had been, should we say, adjusted,” Len Lane, broker/owner of Verico Brokers for Life, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It’s something we’re always aware of.”
Debt to continue rising in 2016, but most Canadians in decent shape: experts
1/4/2016 11:55:55 PM
OTTAWA - Canadian households will close out 2015 carrying thicker layers of debt after worrisome gains over the past 12 months - extra padding that's expected to get even fatter in the new year.

But even with the borrowing binges, many experts still believe the finances of most Canadians remain in decent shape.

Rising real estate costs force Canadians to choose between property and family
1/4/2016 11:54:59 PM
In early 2015, a study revealed that a family would need to make over $147,000 a year just to afford the payment, mortgage, and taxes of an average home in Vancouver (valued at around $820,000). This translates to each partner needing to earn $73,500 per annum just to break even, a losing proposition considering the $66,400 average local salary.
These difficulties have seemingly reached full maturity, as according to the latest “Terrible Money Twos” survey by Ratesupermarket.ca, 55 per cent of Canadians are finding it difficult to settle down because of ever-growing property prices. Most affected are Millennial respondents, 72.11 per cent of which said that progressively expensive real estate is blocking their ability to start families.
Billionaire investor says Fed ‘fiddled too long’ by | 18 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:53:56 PM
The Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increase was long overdue and won’t provide much support to the U.S. economy by itself, according to billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

The Fed "fiddled far too long with it," Ross, chairman of WL Ross & Co., said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Thursday. "If this is the only underpinning of the economy, we don’t have much going for us."
Poll results: The industry is worried about potential changes by Justin da Rosa | 17 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:52:13 PM
The majority of the industry is concerned about an upcoming disclosure rule change and, perhaps, rightfully so, as one company already trying to take advantage.

MortgageBrokerNews.ca recently held a poll to determine what percentage of readers are concerned about a FICOM-proposed change to disclosure, which will require all brokers to clearly demarcate on documents how much they earn in commission. Not only did a record number of readers take part; the results show the majority of brokers are worried.
Canada's key vulnerability of household debt highest among younger people: BoC
1/4/2016 11:49:16 PM
In its latest assessment of Canada's financial health, the central bank said the most indebted borrowers tend to be under 45 years old and usually earn less money, which puts them more at risk in an economic downturn.

The bank's semi-annual financial system review was released as the economy struggles to build momentum after contracting over the first two quarters of 2015. The lack of economic growth early in the year was largely due to the sharp tumble in commodity prices.
National housing prices increase for 11th consecutive month by MBN | 17 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:48:26 PM
The National Composite House Price Index (as measured by Teranet-National Bank) has seen a 0.2 per cent rise from October to November, a report released on earlier this week revealed.
The November figures represented the 11th straight month of increase in home prices across the country, bringing the total gains in the composite index up to 6.1 per cent compared to that a year ago – which marks the most substantial 12-month growth recorded since March 2012.
Batten down the hatches
1/4/2016 11:47:39 PM
An emerging consensus among industry observers and players is saying that the current economic and geopolitical climate is a challenging one for Calgary’s real estate industry, especially for those in the high-end property sector.
Observers noted that Calgary has been especially affected by global oil price declines, job losses in the high-paying oil and gas industries, and realtor reports of a sharp 20 to 30 per cent fall in sales of pre-owned homes. Experts projected Calgary to be a predominantly buyers’ market for at least the next six months.
Pockets of risk in housing market: report
1/4/2016 11:46:05 PM
The federal government should pay close attention to several pockets of risk in the Canadian housing market, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report.

In “Mortgaged to the Hilt: Risks From The Distribution of Household Mortgage Debt,” authors Craig Alexander and Paul Jacobson expose pockets of vulnerability by going beyond national averages and focusing on the distribution of house mortgage debt by income, age and region, all of which matter most when assessing risk.

Fed rate decision comes in by Justin da Rosa | 16 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:44:07 PM
The Federal Reserve announced its benchmark rate target Wednesday afternoon and, as expected, raised the target for its benchmark rate.

“Given the economic outlook, and recognizing the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 percent,” the Fed said in a release. “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative after this increase, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.”
‘My most rewarding deal’ by Justin da Rosa | 16 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:40:21 PM
As all brokers know, each file is different. Some are especially rewarding, and this “miracle” deal is one for the ages.

It’s a story of a tough-to-fund property type and a strange lender/buyer dynamic that somehow resulted in one industry veteran’s most rewarding file.

“I was referred by a lawyer to an industrial building for sale that the buyer wanted to convert into a church; it was a $5 million property and the buyer had a low down payment,” Dale Bilton, a broker with Dominion Lending Centres, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I got together with the pastor and the financial planner for a two-and-a-half hour meeting, and the financials just didn’t work.
Bank of Canada sees elevated housing-crash risks as debt climbs
1/4/2016 11:39:25 PM
The risk of a sharp correction in home prices is “elevated,” Bank of Canada policy makers said Tuesday from Ottawa in their semi-annual Financial System Review, leaving the rating unchanged from the June report. The central bank uses five grades of risk ranging from low to very high, with elevated being in the middle.

High debt levels among younger families with fewer assets are increasing the danger of housing imbalances, the report said. The report reiterated Governor Stephen Poloz’s view the risk of a crash is low and should be avoidable short of a severe recession and major job losses.
Poll: Two-thirds of Canadians prefer 10+ per cent down payment by MBN | 16 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:38:33 PM
Citing their recent survey, real estate giant RE/MAX said that over 66% of Canadian consumers agreed that 10% (or greater) is a reasonable level for home mortgage down payment.
The poll results come as the Department of Finance is contemplating on their housing market recommendations, which would involve, among others, a graduated pay scheme of up to 10 per cent of a home’s value and a greater responsibility on the part of the banks to absorb insured losses on homes.
Vancouver and Toronto lead Canada housing sales and price gains
1/4/2016 11:37:29 PM
Existing home sales gained 1.8 percent in November from the previous month, rising for a second straight period, the Canadian Real Estate Association said in a statement Tuesday. The average sales price was up 1.4 percent from October and 10 percent from a year ago, to C$456,186.

The gains were led by the country’s two most expensive housing markets. Sales in Vancouver were up 7.1 percent, with average prices gaining 1.7 percent on the month and 16 percent from a year earlier. In Toronto, sales were up 3.4 percent as prices rose 1.2 percent from October and 10 percent from a year ago.
CREA releases latest figures by Justin da Rosa | 15 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:36:41 PM
Homes sales were up on a month-over-month basis once again in November, and that trend is expected to continue in light of upcoming mortgage rule changes.

“Recently announced changes to mortgage regulations will likely boost sales activity in the short term, as buyers jump off the fence to beat the changes before they take effect next year,” CREA president Pauline Aunger said in a release. “Even so, some housing markets stand to be affected by the changes more than others.”

Home sales rose 1.8% from October to November, and activity was up 10.9% year-over-year last month
Further tightening coming? by Justin da Rosa | 15 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:12:18 PM
The government will reportedly set its sights on the big banks in its next bid to minimize risk in the housing market, but one industry veteran believes the banks may put up a fight.

 “The government could consider increasing banks’ capital retention requirements or removing the securitization aspect of their mortgages … which would increase their risk,” Ian Murray, a broker with The Mortgage Centre, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “If that were the case, I could see the banks crying foul; I can’t imagine the government kicking the banks in the knees like that.”
Bank of Canada to provide unconventional monetary policy by MBN | 15 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:09:36 PM
Speaking in Toronto last week, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz provided details on the updated framework that will be utilized for unconventional measures, which remain unchanged from the previous version apart from the effective lower bound for interest in a worst-case scenario. The amount has now been set at -0.50 per cent, down from the previous 0.25 per cent.
Poloz also outlined the Bank of Canada’s projections, which expect steady growth of approximately 2.0 per cent that would end up closing the output gap on or around mid-2017. This estimated growth rate would remove the need for monetary easing.
Canada debt-to-disposable income ratio climbs to fresh record by | 15 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:08:40 PM
Canadian household debt ascended to another record in the third quarter, underscoring why policy makers are stepping up efforts to limit the risks of a collapse in the nation’s real estate market
Credit-market debt including mortgages was 163.7 percent of after-tax income, up by 1 percentage point from the second quarter, Statistics Canada said Monday in Ottawa. That figure was balanced by ratios of debt to assets and debt to net worth, which at 17 percent and 20.5 percent remain little changed over the past several quarters.

Concerns about the obligations some families are taking on to buy homes, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, led Finance Minister Bill Morneau to tighten mortgage lending requirements on Friday. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has identified housing-market strains as a key risk to stability, a view he updates tomorrow in the semi-annual Financial System Review.
What brokers value in a mortgage network
1/4/2016 11:07:45 PM
Douglas Emmanuel is one of three newcomers to the Verico network, and he believes strategic partnerships with peers in the real estate and finance industries are key components to success.
“We will start with mortgages,” says Emmanuel, a mortgage agent with Verico Dynasty Wealth Management in Toronto, Ont., “but we will by no means be limited to them. We consider our Realtors and other Financial Service professionals as valued partners.”
Study: Canadian households with heavy mortgages unprepared for higher interest
1/4/2016 11:07:03 PM
A recent study by the C.D. Howe Institute revealed that young Canadian homeowners from around half a million households are currently struggling with a debt-to-income ratio of above 500 per cent, leaving them vulnerable to financial hardship.
The study, titled Mortgaged to the Hilt, found that around 10 per cent of indebted households have less than $1,500 in assets, liquid or otherwise.
Lifelong learning by MBN | 15 Dec 2015
1/4/2016 11:06:15 PM
The most successful NCAA basketball coach of all time, the late John Wooden, once said: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Similarly, superstar mortgage professionals know that their education never ends. They understand how
important it is to continue to feed their minds with positive, uplifting and useful ideas, especially new marketing ideas they can use to take their business to the next level.

The superstar mortgage pros that I know invest thousands of dollars every year in books, home study courses, audio programs, seminars and conferences. They all have an insatiable appetite for learning. They can’t even go to the gym or drive in their vehicle without listening to an audio training program. They turn their car into a “university on wheels” because they know that just one good idea put into practice can unlock a breakthrough in their health, wealth and happiness.
New rules to impact certain buyers
1/4/2016 11:04:41 PM
Here you can type the beginning of your post. It will be displayed on the main page of the blog.Buyers in these two major markets will feel the effects of the upcoming down payment rule changes, according to one industry professional.

“It’s going to affect first-time buyers in Toronto and Vancouver who are trying to buy a house instead of a condo,” James Laird, president of CanWise Financial, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It may push some of those buyers to the condo market; it may force them to borrow from their parents; or it may force them to put off buying and rent for longer.”
Watch: Ryan Gosling explains the market collapse using Jenga
1/4/2016 11:03:38 PM
The Big Short, an upcoming movie based on Michael Lewis’ book of the same name, is a biographical look at the housing market collapse in the United States. And in one leaked teaser, the housing market collapse is explained using the Jenga.

 “What is that?” Mark Baum, played by Steve Carell, asks, as the Jenga blocks fall to the ground.
“That’s America’s housing market,” Jared Vennett, played by Ryan Gosling, replies.

Check out the clip below. The movie just hit theaters and it will draw millions – including mortgage players past and present.
The five most important things for your clients
1/4/2016 11:02:59 PM
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Friday the government is increasing the down payment requirements for homebuyers seeking to purchase properties over $500,000. The move is designed to cool down the smoking-hot housing market in some of Canada's biggest cities. Here are five things to know about the changes:

Who's affected: Given Toronto and Vancouver are thought to be the targets of the new rules, first-time buyers in those cities _ and perhaps their parents _ will feel the pinch since they'll be required to cough up bigger down payments to get into the market. Those selling their homes in order to size up, especially in cities with hot housing markets, likely won't feel the pain since they've built up equity in those properties.
DLC Buys Mortgage Architects
1/4/2016 11:01:11 PM

Canada’s mortgage behemoths have long been the likes of RBC, TD and Scotiabank. But as of today, they have stiffer competition: Dominion Lending Centres (DLC).

After months of negotiation, DLC has won the bidding for Mortgage Architects (MA), one of Canada’s top national superbrokers with 1,287 mortgage agents and brokers.

That now gives DLC’s three brands (Dominion Lending Centres, Mortgage Centre and Mortgage Architects)

Data Highlights from the Fall Mortgage Report
1/4/2016 11:00:15 PM
Mortgage Professionals Canada (previously CAAMP) released its marquis fall mortgage research report this month. We’ve extracted all of the trends that seem new or notable.

You’ll see the most relevant findings below. (Data points of special interest appear in blue.)

No More Slack For Broker Cheats
1/4/2016 10:59:27 PM

This year’s Home Trust broker fraud debacle was headline news, and it marred our industry.

It made the public question broker ethics, it made top brass at banks more skeptical about broker-originations and it put brokers under the microscope with regulators.

Fraud from brokers and lender reps, especially the widely publicized variety, is costly in so many ways. It results in

  • greater default risk for borrowers
  • higher potential losses for lenders
  • higher compliance costs for lenders
  • higher investigation and enforcement costs for regulators, and
  • damage to the industry’s image, which can result in higher capital costs and tighter lending guidelines

While small relative to the $1.3-trillion-plus mortgage industry, these costs are nonetheless unacceptable.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
1/4/2016 10:58:33 PM
Whether you’re having a white Christmas or a rainy one, the spirit of the holiday holds true. May you enjoy this special time of year with those closest to you.
Mortgage Debt: Is the Scale Starting to Tip?
1/4/2016 10:57:44 PM
The “sustained low interest-rate environment” has caused a “significant minority” of Canadians to take on more mortgage debt than they can comfortably manage. That was the conclusion from a recent study by C.D. Howe.

Out of all the study’s findings, the one garnering the most headlines was the percentage of homeowners with a mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500%. That number has rocketed from 3% in 1999 to 11% in 2012 (the latest data available). That’s upwards of half a million households.

Follow up and boost revenue
1/4/2016 10:56:46 PM

“Thank you” can be a powerful pair of words, in personal life and equally in business.

A recent survey from Mortgage Professionals Canada found that 75% of mortgage consumers would have liked to receive a follow-up from their mortgage provider after closing, with most expecting just a simple “thank you for your business.”

That Was Painless
1/4/2016 10:55:50 PM
Ever since the infamous 2013 Taper Tantrum, we’ve been hearing about impending Fed rate hikes and all of their implications. It was like a giant raincloud following us month after month.
Q4 2015 Bank Earnings – Mortgage Morsels
1/4/2016 10:55:06 PM

Just when you thought profits at the Big Banks couldn’t soar any higher, they do. And then some.

The Big 6 Banks earned a whopping $35 billion combined in 2015. Much of that is thanks to strong performance from residential mortgages, despite the slowdown in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Wider spreads on variable rate products also helped boost net interest margin for several of the banks.

New Down Payment Rules: Time to Exhale
1/4/2016 10:54:08 PM

If you’re trying to scratch together a down payment, or you sell mortgages for a living, today’s news could have been much, much worse.

The new down payment rules Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced this morning were as benign a policy change as one could hope for. This refers, of course, to the new minimum down payment requirement, which takes effect on February 15, 2016.

Student debt impacting home buying
1/4/2016 10:49:32 PM
Navient, the country's largest student debt servicer, put out a report Wednesday that suggests young people are doing just fine with their finances. The study surveyed 3,000 millennials and concluded that they are happily taking out mortgages, starting families, saving money, and managing their budgets. "Young adults are not only financially healthy but also actively focused on saving," the report said. Navient may be overstating things. Here are four reasons you should not be convinced that things are going that well for young people who took out student loans.
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