The latest victims of the growing financial crisis could be the standard discount available to consumers on variable mortgages, and home equity loans at prime.
In a move expected to be followed by other banks, all of which have been stung by higher funding costs, TD Canada Trust is raising rates on both types of loans, effective Oct. 7.
Rates on these products will rise to 5.75 per cent, a percentage point above the prime rate. Only last week, TD eliminated the discount on its variable rate mortgages, offering them at the prime rate of 4.75 per cent. During the housing boom of the past several years, consumers could often get their bank to drop the rate by half or even up to a full percentage point.
“While TD Canada Trust has endeavoured to not pass on the increases in rates to its consumers, this change reflects steadily increasing costs of funds in the current economic environment,” the bank said in a statement.
The percentage point increase raises the term interest cost on a $250,000 variable rate mortgage by $12,247.22 over five years, according to Royal Bank of Canada's online mortgage calculator. The difference is based on a 25-year amortization, a variable rate mortgage with a five-year term and bi-weekly payments. On that basis, the bi-weekly payment amount rises to $725.90 from $657.83.
The credit crisis and economic uncertainty have caused banks to stockpile their cash. That's driving up their short-term cost of borrowing from one another, and means margins on variable rate mortgage products are shrinking.
Rates on fixed-term mortgages went up last week too, as banks have passed on fewer of their savings from falling bond yields to consumers to consumers.
“The deterioration of global credit markets is beginning to squeeze the ability of even the strongest of financial institutions to raise longer-term funds, which could limit the provision of longer-term credit in Canada to businesses and households,” federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement Monday.
“Hopefully this isn't a permanent shift, but a short-term reaction to conditions the likes of which we really haven't seen before,” said Gary Siegle, regional manager at mortgage broker Invis.
With a discount, some customers can still get five-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.55 per cent, meaning a bi-weekly payment of $707.66 on a $250,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years. This means those looking for peace of mind in the current market turmoil aren't paying a premium to lock in, Mr. Siegle said.