American lenders returning to Canada?

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After the 2008 crash, American providers of subprime loans tucked tail and went home – but with the loonie hovering around 75 cents US, the stage is set for their return.

“The strength of the US dollar and the money they would make on the exchange, it would be a phenomenal deal for them,” says Mickey Baratz, the director of finance and principal broker of Vector Financial. “I don’t know what the regulators would say about that, but for the first time, U.S. banks are co-lending in Canada. So if they want they can fund me, and I would be more than happy to co-lend with them.”

While Baratz sees limitless possibilities for American lenders in the Canadian space, he thinks most have learned valuable lessons since they unceremoniously packed up their subprime operations here following the mortgage meltdown in their home markets stateside.

“If I was Wells Fargo or any American bank I would be a fool to try and do business here on my own,” says Baratz, voicing the need for local expertise and partners. “I wouldn’t try to do it myself.”

Still, interest among American companies is growing. That’s not the case with Canadians looking at lending in the US, although some Canadian companies have looked to the U.S. for business opportunities, through the American Association of Private Lenders. When Baratz went looking, he was quickly turned off.

“I was scared away by how unprofessional they were,” he told, “compared to how much work had to be done to satisfy our standards – so we decided against going that route.”
  • Blair Anderson on 2015-08-31 10:50:54 AM

    It would be nice to see the subprime mortgage space open up more in Canada to the level of competition in this market, prior to the departure of so many American, and Canadian companies. From what I understand, delinquency ratios on subprime mortgages for these companies, in the Canadian market, never changed. Regardless of that, the prevailing global investor sentiment was to get out of the business altogether, and today we are left with underserved subprime market.

    It's been seven years. Lessons learned, let's hope the time has come for reestablishing this important market.

  • Chrissey on 2015-08-31 11:21:51 AM

    To clarify: The American Association of Private Lenders is an American association that does not work within the Canadian market.
    It is the first-and only-organization to provide standards and a Code of Ethics (backed by education and on-going training) for American lenders.

  • Gary on 2015-08-31 3:14:27 PM

    What is the exchange rate has to do with good returns? They are not buying things in here! they are going to lend to Canadians in Canadian Dollars and get their return in Canadian Dollars! when you think about it, there is actually a big hedge risks associated with expansion in to Canada! so Keep dreaming people, no one is coming here!

  • T.O. Broker on 2015-09-11 12:10:21 PM

    Exchange has something to do with it ONLY if you feel the value of the Canadian dollar has "bottomed" out... so if you were a U.S. investor looking to invest NOW your return in US dollars would INCREASE as the Canadian dollar rose (Ie, you would get more u.s. dollars in return for the Canadian dollars than you spent to initially buy them). If you were an investor looking to make a play on Forex, the fact you are getting return on debt becomes an excellent hedge.

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