OSFI makes changes to deferral landscape due to improvements in Canadian economy

by Ephraim Vecina on 02 Sep 2020

The special capital treatment of loan and insurance premium payment deferrals that was provided to banks and insurers earlier this year will be gradually phased out, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

“Over the course of the past five months, institutions and private pension plans have demonstrated their resilience and continue to adapt their risk management tools, operations, and processes to the current environment,” the regulator said. “As a result, OSFI has begun the careful transition back to its standard regulatory and supervisory position.”

Deferrals granted starting this week until the end of September will get special capital treatments for loan and premium payments for up to three months, rather than six.

OSFI said that since the deferred residential mortgages will not be considered past due, banks won’t be forced into higher capital requirements.

Most of the $247 billion in deferrals as of the end of the second quarter is scheduled to mature in September and October. By the tail-end of this period, the special rules implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis will be deactivated, The Canadian Press reported.

OSFI is also lifting the freeze on portability and annuity transfers, which is expected to ease requirements for pension plans.

“Now that markets have steadied and the overall solvency of pension plans is sufficiently stable, OSFI is removing these restrictions,” the federal watchdog said. “Additional conditions and safeguards have been put in place to protect the rights and interests of pension plan members and beneficiaries.”

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