The COVID-19 outbreak is the most urgent challenge Canada has faced in recent memory. Banks in Canada have stepped up to help our country work through these difficult times and have launched comprehensive programs to make a positive difference for those who need their help and support. They are working directly with individual and small business customers to create tailored support plans to manage financial uncertainty and build a bridge to a strong future.
Relief through deferred mortgage payments
- As of May 27, 13 CBA member banks have provided help through mortgage deferrals or skip a payment to more than 721,000 Canadians, which represents about 15% of the number of mortgages in bank portfolios.
- CMHC data show that the average monthly mortgage payment of Canadian homeowners is $1,326. Cash flow freed up from completed deferrals is roughly $956 million per month, or
$2.8 billion per quarter.
- Roughly 90% of customers seeking a mortgage deferral are approved.
Credit cards and lines of credit
- Banks are reducing credit card interest rates, deferring payments and instituting low minimum payments on credit cards and lines of credit. As of May 27, more than 413,000 credit card deferral requests are in process or have been completed by eight banks.
- Several banks have announced heavily discounted or low fixed interest rates for customers who choose to defer their credit card payments.
- Customers have been offered term loans and lower-interest lines of credit to reduce their credit card balances.
Facilitating access to emergency benefits
- Banks have collaborated with the Government of Canada to offer online enrollment of Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) direct deposit to facilitate convenient and secure access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments. Over 2.3 million Canadians have already enrolled through their financial institution for CRA direct deposit.
Small business customers
- Canada’s banks serve three million self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses across Canada.
- Banks have authorized more than $247 billion in credit to this sector as of September 2019.
- Banks delivered fast access to the federal government-led Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program, providing small and medium-sized companies loans of up to $40,000 at 0% interest until December 31, 2022. If repaid by end of 2022, up to one-quarter of the loan is forgivable.
- As of May 21, more than 621,000 CEBA loans have been approved by financial institutions including banks, representing roughly $24.8 billion in credit for eligible businesses.
- Banks have introduced a range of flexible measures for existing loans, including deferrals and term extensions. More than 74,000 deferrals have been extended to business accounts for SME, commercial and corporate customers with a total value of $2.5 billion.
- Banks also partnered with the Government of Canada to expedite access to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for businesses. The new service allows eligible businesses to register their business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the Canada Revenue Agency directly through their bank business portals.
- Seven banks have donated a combined $10.8 million to support frontline health care workers and community services urgently needed for vulnerable individuals affected by the public health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19.
- These gifts to Canadian charities such as United Way Centraide Canada, Food Banks Canada and Breakfast Club Canada provide essential services, community services and services for vulnerable populations.
Canada’s strong banks
Canada’s stable, well-regulated banks can provide high levels of support because of their strength.
- Banks employ 275,825 Canadians
- Amount banks paid in taxes to all levels of government in Canada in 2019: $12.7 billion
- Amount banks and their subsidiaries paid in salaries and benefits in Canada in 2019: $30 billion
- Dividend income paid in 2019 by Canada’s banks to shareholders: $21.3 billion
- Canada’s largest banks hold more capital entering the COVID-19 crisis than they did entering the global financial crisis in 2008.