The Globe and Mail reports in its Saturday, April 4, edition that Canada's biggest banks have received nearly half a million requests from homeowners to hold off mortgage payments as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, according to the Canadian Bankers' Association. A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that since the banks announced a plan to provide financial relief more than two weeks ago, almost 500,000 requests to skip or defer mortgage payments have been completed or are being processed, up from 213,000 on March 26, according to a statement from the association. The delay in mortgage payments comes at a time when Canadian banks are seeing subdued earnings growth due to lower margins, increasing loan loss provisions and volatile performance in their capital markets divisions. Canada's Big Six banks announced the co-ordinated effort on March 17 to offer mortgage relief to customers suffering pay disruption as businesses grind to a halt.
While homeowners can ask for up to a six-month deferral, it could cost them additional interest. "The country's six largest banks have deferred more than 10 per cent of the mortgages in their portfolio," the statement said.
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