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Mortgage refinancing starting to cool from pandemic highs: TD Bank – Vancouver Is Awesome



TORONTO — The COVID-19 pandemic caused a flurry of consumers to refinance their mortgages as new, low interest rates were offered, but TD Bank Group is seeing signs that the trend is easing up.

Greg Braca, the president and chief executive of the bank’s American operations, told analysts on a Thursday call that the bank’s mortgage business is still up on a year-over-year basis, but the refinancing side is cooling as the pandemic subsides.

“We’re seeing a lot of the volume now on the purchase side, and we’re still seeing refinances getting done, but it’s really moved to more of a purchase market,” he said.

Braca’s remarks come as the U.S. is staging a widespread reopening from pandemic measures and Canada is eyeing a similar move as vaccination rates soar.

While the pandemic forced the temporary closure of many businesses, it was no match for Canada’s real estate market. Buoyed by low interest rates, Canadians flocked to the housing sector and engaged in bidding wars to snatch up properties at increasingly expensive prices.

The market has only begun to moderate in recent months as supply returned to popular regions like Toronto and Vancouver and the country announced changes to the mortgage stress test that will come into effect on June 1.

The changes will set the qualifying rate on uninsured mortgages at either two percentage points above the contract rate, or 5.25 per cent, whichever is greater.

On the same call as Braca discussed mortgages, TD chief executive Bharat Masrani said he’s still seeing “significant” impacts on the economy from the pandemic.

“Unprecedented fiscal and monetary support for households and businesses has led to a significant increase in cash balances, limiting borrowing needs (and) driving delinquency rates to historic lows,” he said.

But he is seeing promising signs. Vaccination efforts that have helped open up the U.S. are likely to be replicated here and will spur a recovery, he said.

Despite the constantly shifting nature of the pandemic, Bharat added that he felt the bank “navigated this complex environment well.”

TD shared Thursday that it beat expectations as its second-quarter profit more than doubled compared with a year ago and the bank recovered some of its provisions for credit losses.

The bank earned $3.7 billion or $1.99 per diluted share for the quarter ended April 30, up from a profit of $1.5 billion or 80 cents per share a year ago.

The improvement came as TD posted a $377-million recovery of credit losses for its latest quarter compared with a provision for credit losses of $3.2 billion a year ago at the start of the pandemic.

Revenue at TD totalled $10.2 billion, down from $10.5 billion in the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, TD says it earned $2.04 per diluted share in its latest quarter, up from 85 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.76 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

TD said its Canadian retail business earned $2.18 billion, up from $1.17 billion a year ago, helped by a recovery of credit losses and record results in its wealth and insurance operations.

In the U.S., TD said its retail business, which includes its investment in the Charles Schwab Corp., earned $1.32 billion, up from $336 million in the same quarter last year.

TD’s wholesale banking group, which includes its capital markets and investment banking operations, earned $383 million in its latest quarter, up from $209 million a year ago, as a recovery of credit losses was partially offset by lower revenue and higher non-interest expenses. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TD)

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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New Bank of America Report Says Digital Currencies ‘Could Boost Economic Growth’ in Developing Countries – Fintech Bitcoin News




New Bank of America Report Says Digital Currencies ‘Could Boost Economic Growth’ in Developing Countries

A new Bank of America (BOA) research study has found that both central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and private digital currencies hold “a lot of potential” for increasing financial inclusion in developing countries. In the report, the bank also argues that such “digital currencies could reduce transaction costs and allow more economic activities in emerging market economies.”

Digital Currencies and Financial Inclusion

Still, the study findings show that while digital currencies are likely to “boost economic growth” in developing countries, their adoption will carry some risk. In addition, the study also finds that the rise of digital currencies “could lead to inflation and dollarization.”

Meanwhile, a separate report quotes David Hauner, the BOA’s head of emerging market cross-asset strategy and economics for EMEA, explaining why digital currencies could be pivotal in emerging market countries where more than 50% of adults lack a bank account.

“Digital currencies have the potential to address many practical constraints on financial services in poor countries,” said Hauner.

The report also lists the reduction of cross-border payment costs as well as the reduction of corruption and other illegal activities as some of the constraints that can be addressed by digital currencies.

Risks to Physical Currency

The BOA research study found that the rise of digital currencies could potentially “undermine a country’s physical currency,” however. Expanding on these findings, Hauner stated:

Easier access to alternative digital currencies is also likely to increase the volatility of domestic money supply and the exchange rate. Easier access to alternatives also raises the risks of rapid shifts of liquidity out of (or into) the currency and the banks which can magnify macro volatility in already less stable countries. Higher macro volatility would then reduce the effectiveness of policies and undermine the long-term rate of growth.

Despite these risks, Hauner suggests that more central banks are “likely to issue a general purpose CBDC in the next three years.” As previously reported by News, several countries — including a few in Africa — are currently at different stages of developing or piloting their digital currencies. Several more countries are likely to join the race as more studies show that digital currency benefits outweigh the risks.

What are your thoughts on the latest BOA research report on digital currencies? You can share your views in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Why a HELOC might be right for you | Core Bank Personal




Why a HELOC might be right for you | Core Bank Personal

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a good way to utilize the equity you have in your home to make a large purchase that otherwise is difficult to save up for. A credit limit will be established based on your home’s current valuation.  With a HELOC you not only get great flexibility by being able to access your money whenever you need it, but you also only pay interest on how much you actually use.

Let’s run through a few scenarios where taking out a HELOC would make sense.

Home renovations

One of the most popular reasons homeowners take out a HELOC is to fund renovation projects. Renovations can be a great use of money since they not only make your house more enjoyable to live in, they also generally increase your home’s value.

Reducing debt

Tired of paying a high-interest rate on your debt? You’re not alone. Using a HELOC to consolidate other forms of debt is a popular choice among homeowners. Credit card debt, for example, has a much higher interest rate than a HELOC would. The key to using this method of debt reduction is to plan ahead and make sure you know how you’ll pay off the loan.

Emergency funds

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again – having an emergency fund is always a good idea. Your home’s equity can be that emergency fund for you. If you find yourself faced with a medical emergency, job loss, or any other unexpected emergency, know that your equity is there to help.

Higher education

Looking to further your education? A HELOC might be a good alternative to student loans since they tend to offer a lower interest rate. Another benefit to a HELOC is that you may have more money available to you.

Federal student loans have borrowing limits which can make it hard to pay for an education if you still have a balance due even after utilizing other forms of aid, such as financial ad and scholarships.

Travel plans

Traveling is always fun, but paying for it is another story. While you can fund some trips with your everyday budget, some trips require a little more money. Using your HELOC can be a lifesaver when it comes to making your dream vacation a reality. No need to pull out the credit card or overextend your budget.

Equity is one of the many benefits of homeownership and can play a big role in helping you achieve financial wellness.  Learn how to make the most of your home today

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De-Banking! Former GOP Candidate Witzke Says Wells Fargo Shut Down Her Account: Report




De-Banking! Former GOP Candidate Witzke Says Wells Fargo Shut Down Her Account: Report

First liberal corporations attacked conservative speech, but now they are destabilizing the finances of those they disagree with, as former Senate candidate Lauren Witzke has reportedly discovered.

American bank Wells Fargo has reportedly shut down the bank account of Lauren Witzke, a 2020 Delaware Senate GOP candidate and outspoken activist. An account purporting to represent Witzke claimed via Telegram that her bank account had been shut down, leaving her penniless in Florida: “Wells Fargo has shut down my bank account, taking all of my money and leaving me with a zero balance.” The Witzke account torched Wells Fargo for leaving her in the lurch and causing her to rely on the charity of her friends:

“When I called Wells Fargo told me that it was a ‘business decision’ and that they have the right to close my account at any time. Had I not been surrounded by friends in Florida, I would be completely stranded. Use this as a warning and get your money out of Wells Fargo if you are a conservative. This is so evil.”

Wells Fargo responded to inquiry from MRC Free Speech America by denying any political motivations:

“Wells Fargo does not consider political views or affiliations in making account decisions.  An account may be closed for a number of reasons based on individual facts and circumstances. While we cannot discuss customer accounts because they involve confidential customer information, we can report that we have reviewed this situation, gave ample notice of our decision and it was handled appropriately.”

Conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin wrote in a commentary on CNSNews that Witzke’s “entire life savings of roughly $15,500 had been transferred to ‘loss prevention.’” Malkin further asserted that “[Witske] would be barred from retrieving her funds at any branch office and that they would ‘mail a check.’”

Malkin reportedly heard from Witzke directly, the former candidate stating, “The current weaponization of corporations and banks against conservatives and Christians is terrifying.” Witzke reportedly recounted how sudden her ousting was from Wells Fargo:

“I have banked with Wells Fargo for years, using it as savings when I was working in ministry. Only when I was given a platform to share my Christian views on the national stage did Wells Fargo decide to shut down my account. The Evil Oligarchs at Wells Fargo left me, a young woman, with a balance of zero dollars, stranded, and a thousand miles away from my home with no explanation…Christians and Conservatives, get your money out of Wells Fargo, NOW!”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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