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Nov 29, 2018

CIBC's Canadian mortgage growth cools to slowest pace in 5 years

TD, CIBC deliver mixed fourth-quarter results

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s expectations of a cool-down in mortgage growth have come true, with home loans expanding at the slowest pace in five years as bigger rivals overtake the one-time leader.

CIBC’s Canadian mortgage balances rose 0.5 per cent to $202 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter, less than a 20th of the growth last year, according to filings Thursday from the Toronto-based bank. The balance shrunk from $203 billion in the third quarter and marks a reversal for CIBC, which had a three-year streak of outperforming other large Canadian banks by expanding mortgages at levels that peaked around 12 per cent.

“Any time you have a changing trajectory you’re going to have a little bit of volatility,” Chief Financial Officer Kevin Glass said in a phone interview. “We were a little below market growth this quarter, but we’re happy with our client relationships, confident about the way we’re going to move forward.”

CIBC’s executives, responding to analyst and investor concerns of outsize growth, have said in the past year that the pace would fall more in line with industry levels as it ended a years-long ramp-up of its mobile mortgage advisers sales force. Glass said he expects CIBC to expand its mortgage book at the same pace of growth as the wider market going forward.

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Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, has become the new leader for growth of home loans, with balances rising to $246.9 billion, up 5 per cent from a year earlier. The Toronto-based bank saw growth as high as 7.4 per cent in early 2016, though it has steadily cooled since. CFO Rod Bolger said in a Nov. 28 interview that he expects that to continue, estimating mortgage growth of 3 to 5 percent next year.

Toronto-Dominion Bank saw mortgages expand 1.6 per cent to $192.5 billion from a year ago, the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2017, the Toronto-based lender said Thursday in its statement.

“We’re seeing good activity for our book and we continue to maintain very consistent underwriting standards through the period,” CFO Riaz Ahmed said in a phone interview.

Bank of Nova Scotia’s mortgage balances rose 3.2 per cent to $205.7 billion in the fourth quarter, its slowest quarterly growth in two years, according to financial statements.