The federal government introduced a number of relief measures last year in an effort to assist individuals facing significant financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the opportunity for Canadian lenders to allow customers to defer their mortgage and credit card payments for a set period of time. At the end of the deferral agreement, payments returned to normal and the deferred amounts were added to the mortgage or credit card balance.
A deferral simply represents a delay in payment and doesn’t imply that the mortgage or credit card is in arrears or in default as the terms of the mortgage/credit agreement are essentially still being honoured. Therefore, credit-reporting guidelines implemented by Canada’s credit-reporting agencies include measures for special payment arrangements to ensure they’re flagged accordingly and not reported in the same manner as a missed or late payment.
Lenders must ensure their customers’ payment history, including any special arrangements, is accurately reported to the credit bureaus. But mistakes can happen. If errors occur in the reporting system or reporting guidelines aren’t properly implemented, a lender may report a deferred payment inaccurately. This could have a damaging impact on a consumer’s credit rating and unfairly affect their ability to obtain future credit.
Check your credit!
Be proactive to ensure your credit hasn’t been impacted if you took advantage of deferred payment(s) – like more than three million Canadians. Check your credit report to ensure there are no errors and speak to your lender if necessary.
You can request a copy of your credit report at any time from Canada’s reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. If you detect an issue, take the necessary steps right away to have it corrected by completing a credit report update or investigation request form.
Other mortgage default management tools available
While the COVID-19 mortgage payment deferral program has ended, many Canadians are still struggling financially due to layoffs, reduced wages, lockdowns, shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. If you’re anxious about meeting your mortgage obligations, default management tools are available to help get you through these trying times.
Initiatives such as reducing monthly payments by extending the amortization period as well as other payment arrangements are all worth investigating with your mortgage agent.
At the first sign of difficulty, speak with your mortgage agent to discuss your options and be sure to review the Default Management Tools from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Mortgage Relief Options offered by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
Have questions about mortgage deferrals or credit scores? Answers are a call or email away!