KEEPING YOU INFORMED: COVID-19 information for residential customers & commercial borrowers

Our residential call centre is experiencing higher than normal wait times.

If you are a residential customer experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and need to request a mortgage payment assistance, please submit a payment assistance request through My Mortgage.

If you are a commercial borrower experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, please email our Payments team at

Be assured that we are committed to getting back to all of you who have contacted us.

Your patience is appreciated, and we thank you for your understanding.


First National discusses interest rates, Canada’s employment figures and real estate data

  • Andrew Masliwec, Analyst, Capital Markets

Good morning,

The Canadian bond market has an early close today before the long weekend. By sheer coincidence many bond trading types were seen congregating in Hawaiian shirts late into Thursday night, no doubt to discuss why rates have moved in the last couple weeks. Below I have compiled some of those discussions.  Vacations are at a peak during this time of year and time is of the essence so let’s get at it.

Interest Rates
The past couple weeks have seen some fluctuations in the Canadian benchmark rates. Take a quick gander at the below:



Last week

2 weeks

A year ago

GoC 5 Year





GoC 10 Year





The 5 and 10 year CMBS are also higher, opening at 1.89% and 2.38% this morning, respectively.

Yields have been rising since the Bank of Canada overnight rate hike on July 14th.  Luckily, we don't need to rub our crystal ball to try to figure out why, as there has been some noteworthy economic news. 

Economic Data
Canada’s employment figures came out this morning in what was a mixed bag result.  Net change in employment was a bit lower than the surveyed result, coming in at +10.9K jobs added vs 12.5k estimated. However, strong gains in full time work (+35.1k) vs part time (-24.3k) offset any doubts that this was a poor result. Unemployment surprised to the upside, as it came in 20 bps lower than expected at 6.3% unemployment vs 6.5% (estimate). Bonds are continually selling off this morning even with many traders not in their seats.

Fridays aren’t always good, as we saw some ugly trade numbers also come in this morning. As an import-export metric, international merchandise trade balance came in worse than expected at a -3.6 $billion deficit.  It’s also probably a good time to mention that last week we had MoM and YoY GDP numbers for May.  Those came in stellar, with YoY gain in GDP being the highest since October 2000. The May reading would leave the Q2 average at 3.7% for GDP growth and everything I am reading from today’s poor trade numbers would still keep that number unchanged.

What does that all mean? Good Question. I asked a trader and a major take away is that StatsCan has irreverent timing for releasing important economic data, choosing the Friday before a long weekend. The numbers are important though, as the Bank of Canada will use those stats to determine when to raise interest rates again. Currently, a December rate hike of 25 bps has a 75% probability, relatively unchanged with today’s data, while 2018 dates are sitting at 90% probabilities.

Real Estate
TREB came out with their data for July this week showing that transactions were down 40% YoY.  There is more evidence of a switch towards lower priced areas as well, as the average sale price is just up 5% YoY in the GTA. This seems to be following Vancouver’s trend, where a sharp drop in sales and upward spike in listings also occurred shortly after Vancouver’s foreign buyer’s tax.

World News
In 140 characters or less, the preferred way to see news, the below also occurred in the USA and abroad:

  1. Trump hired & fired a communications director in record time, while the Federal Reserve kept their overnight rate unchanged last Wednesday
  2. The Fed also spoke about unwinding their huge $4.5 Trillion balance sheet, which you would expect to increase rates south of the border
  3. The Financial Conduct Authority, decided to abandon LIBOR by 2021. LIBOR is a benchmark setting interest rate globally, similar to CDOR.
  4. Abandoned partly because of a scandal in 2012. LIBOR directly impacts about $350 Trillion (USD) in financial instruments.
  5. Many mortgages, swaps and loans are based on LIBOR, so the inevitable succession will be highly watched in the markets.

Finally, the last piece of news, just in time to spoil your long weekend cook off. A study came out from the University of Guelph that showed 20% of sausages sampled throughout Canada, contained meat that wasn’t on the label.  I am a glass-half-full kind of guy, so I’ll try to view getting horse meat in my pork sausage as an added bonus.

Have a good long weekend,

Andrew Masliwec
Analyst, Capital Markets