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The Difference Between a Lenders, B Lenders and Private Mortgage Lenders

On January 1, 2018, the Canadian government required the major banks to conduct “stress tests” on prospective borrowers, effectively making it harder for the average household to qualify for a mortgage.

Given the steady rise of home prices across Canada, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto, the move was not welcomed by many of those eager to get in the housing market. One of the ramifications of these new rules is that those seeking to buy a home may have to explore more options in order to be approved for a mortgage.

Before shopping around, it’s essential to understand the different types of lenders that exist to fund mortgages in Canada – doing so will ensure you’re able to obtain the mortgage most suitable for your needs.

A Lenders

The most common financial institutions you’ll come by fall in the “A lender” category. These are the traditional banks, monoline lenders and credit unions, such as TD, Scotiabank, MCAP, First National, ATB, etc.

These institutions cater to customers with good credit scores and reliable income streams. Most people settle on funding their mortgage through them, as they are federally regulated (credit unions are subject to regulation at the provincial level) and have a long and established history of good lending practices.

Institutions that operate in this category have a very detailed process you must go through in order to be approved for a mortgage. Special conditions must be met in order to secure a mortgage, including the aforementioned stress tests.

B Lenders

Institutions such as Equitable Bank, Canadian Western Bank and Home Trust fall into the category known as “B lenders”.

This class of lenders offers less stringent borrowing requirements, qualifying those that would normally get rejected by A lenders. The clientele most likely to seek out these institutions are those who have a weak credit score and inconsistent income streams (such as the self-employed or recent immigrants).

Though they are less conspicuous than the traditional banks and credit unions, B lenders are regulated, reputable, and are a fast growing segment of the mortgage industry in Canada.

B lenders are a great option if you don’t mind paying a mortgage rate 1 – 2% higher than A lenders, though it’s very possible to be approved for a lower rate as well; B lenders have lower overhead costs than A lenders, affording them the ability to offer competitive rates and other attractive mortgage features to clients.

Private Lenders

This category spans a wide spectrum of lenders from businesses that specialize in mortgages only, to your immediate family members.

Because private lenders are not required to comply with the same rules and regulations that banks and credit unions are, the borrowing requirements are more lenient. Not surprisingly, the mortgage rates offered by private lenders tend to be higher than those of A or B lenders.

Getting approved for a mortgage through an unregulated lender could be quite easy. However, it’s critical to do a thorough examination of the mortgage contract. Hiring a lawyer to review the documents is highly recommended for any real estate transaction.

When assessing the options available to you in the mortgage market, always take the necessary steps to ensure you are getting the best deal. Be honest about your financial standing and ask a lot of questions. And when the time comes to sign on the dotted line, ensure you’re satisfied with all the information you’ve been provided.