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Industry adapts to "the new normal" created by the virus

by Steve Randall on 17 Mar 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is an outsized test of the resilience of the mortgage and real estate industry.

While most organizations have emergency plans in place for market disruption, but the scale and speed of the virus’ hold on Canadian life is unprecedented in modern times.

But the industry continues to show its adaptiveness with most lenders and associated businesses offering both safe-working practices for their staff and support for their customers.

CIBC, for example, says that all of its locations will stay open but with modified hours from March 18, except for those centres that do not offer over-the-counter cash and banking services, which will close completely.

As well as remote working options for all staff who are not in customer-facing roles, the bank has also donated $100,000 to the World Health Organization, and $650,000 to local Canadian charities.

Central 1 Credit Union is encouraging customers to use digital channels and says that it is confident that its systems are ready to handle increased traffic.

It carried out an “extensive and successful” disaster recovery exercise for all key Central 1 systems in November 2019 but says that resources are in place to quickly mitigate any unforeseen issues.

Customer support
Mortgage insurer Canada Guaranty says that it is working hard with partners to find solutions for those customers that may experience financial hardship as a result of the virus outbreak.

Its Homeownership Solutions Program normally enables lenders to capitalize up to four monthly mortgage payments but it says this can be extended to a maximum of six monthly payments, subject to certain conditions.

Land transfers
The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA) says that, due to social distancing, it will accept an Affidavit of Execution sworn under section 49 of the Land Title Act.

It also says that documents that are signed by the transferor on one page and witnessed by an officer on a separate page. This means that both can maintain a safe distance.

However, it clarified that the requirements of the Land Title Act mean that the transferor must be in the presence of an officer and that videoconferencing is not an acceptable alternative.

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