(Bloomberg) -- Bank of Montreal is slowly whittling down a pile of ultra-long mortgages that it granted to Canadian customers to help them handle the rapid rise in interest rates. 

When borrowing costs shot up in 2022 and 2023, the Canadian bank allowed clients to extend the time they’ll take to pay off their loans, easing the monthly payment shock. That changed the composition of Bank of Montreal’s domestic mortgage book: by early last year, almost a third of the portfolio had amortization periods exceeding 30 years.

That has now shrunk to about 25%, the bank disclosed in its financial results for the quarter ended Jan. 31.

As the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 5%, Canada’s biggest banks have been pulling different levers to minimize the pain for borrowers. Many homeowners with variable-rate mortgages have hit their so-called trigger rates, the point at which their payments cover only the interest on their loans. Clients in that situation can reduce their amortization period by increasing their regular payments or making a lump-sum payment. 

In previous quarters, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce have all reported high numbers of mortgage clients with amortizations well beyond the standard 25 years. But Canada’s banking regulator has expressed concern about the practice and has urged lenders to “shrink this problem.” 

Canada’s six largest banks all report fiscal first-quarter earnings this week. 

Read More: Mortgage Growth Buckles Under Weight of Rate Hikes in Canada

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