Fixed-Rate Mortgage Penalties: Larger Than Ever!

math for IRD calculations

Many people are unaware the Big-6 banks, and all the banks you can walk into, calculate the payout penalties at much higher amounts than mortgage broker lenders.

The cost of how penalties are calculated is even more concerning when fixed-mortgage rates stay flat or rise slightly over an extended period – exactly what is happening right now.

Summary:

  • You could be looking at an extra $7,000 in penalty cost on a $250,000 mortgage, or an extra $11,200 on a $400,000 mortgage, that is broken two years early with any Big-6 lender.
  • Mortgage broker lenders still calculate the payout “the old way” – to your advantage!

Short Version:

Fixed-rate mortgage penalties are almost always calculated based on “the greater of three months interest or interest-rate differential (IRD)”. But there are key differences in the actual rates lenders use to calculate your IRD.

  • These differences are magnified in a flat or slightly rising interest-rate environment.
  • This is a big deal as the IRD calculations used by the banks below can trigger a penalty that is more than 5 times what you would be charged at a wide range of other lenders.

Long Version – hold on this is MATH!

Let’s say your current mortgage balance is $250,000 on a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 2.59%. We’ll also assume that you are three years into your term (with two years remaining) and that interest rates are the same when you break your mortgage as they were when you first got your loan.

First, we calculate the cost of three month’s interest, which we can quickly determine is $1,619.

Here is the formula we use to arrive at that number:

2.59% x $250,000 x 3/12 = $1,619

We then compare this cost to the cost of your IRD penalty, which will almost always be calculated using one of three methods: Standard, Discounted or Posted.

 

  1. The Standard IRD Penalty (used by Mortgage Broker Banks)

When using a standard IRD penalty calculation, your lender starts by taking the difference between your contract rate (2.59%) and their current rate that most closely matches your remaining term. Since you have two years left on your mortgage,  that would be the lender’s two-year fixed rate (we’ll use 2.29%, which is widely available today). The difference between these two rates is 0.30%.

The lender multiplies this difference (0.30%) by your mortgage balance ($250,000) and the time remaining on your mortgage (expressed as the number of months remaining on your mortgage divided by twelve).

Here is the complete formula:     (3.29% – 2.99%) x $250,000 x (24/12) = $1,500

And here is a table which explains where each number in the formula came from:

Standard IRD Calculation

2.59% = Your contract rate

2.29% = current rate the most closely matches your remaining term

$250,000 = remaining mortgage balance

24 = months remaining

$1,500 = IRD Penalty charged

That’s it; the standard IRD calculation. It is used by a wide range of lenders who compete with each other to offer borrowers the best mortgage rates available.

In this case the cost of three months’ interest ($1,619) is greater than the lender’s Standard IRD calculation ($1,500), so you would have to pay $1,619 to break your mortgage.

AND here is where the differences are: well-known lenders have tweaked their IRD calculations to skew the interest rates used in their formulas heavily in their favour, and as you will now see, that can have a huge impact on the size of your penalty.

 

  1. The Discounted Rate IRD Penalty (Used by RBC, BMO, TD, Scotia and National Bank)

When using the Discounted Rate Penalty, the lender takes your contract rate and compares it to the posted rate that most closely matches your remaining term MINUS the original discount you got off of their five-year posted rate (which in this case is 2.05%). Here is the contract wording taken straight from TD’s website. Key section is underlined:

{Your contract rate will be reduced by] the current interest rate that we can now charge for a mortgage term offered by us with the term closest to your remaining term. The interest rate will be our posted interest rate for the term minus the most recent discount you received.}

In other words, this lender will take the discount they gave you off of their five-year posted rate and apply that same discount to the posted two-year rate they use in your penalty calculation.

This tweak makes a big difference to the cost of your penalty and is blatantly one-sided because lenders don’t discount shorter-term fixed-rate mortgages nearly as deeply as they do their five-year terms (.30% vs. 2.05% using this same lender’s rate sheet as of today).

The table below shows you the key numbers used to calculate the Discounted Rate IRD penalty:

Discounted –Rate IRD Calculation

2.59% = Your contract rate

2.84% = current rate the most closely matches your remaining term

2.05% = discount you received on your original Contract Rate

0.79% = 2-year rate used to calculate your penalty

$250,000 = remaining mortgage balance

24 = months remaining

$9,000 = IRD Penalty charged

Yes, Ouch!

But fasten your seat belt because other major lenders dig even deeper into your wallet. The Grand Daddy of them all is the Posted Rate IRD Penalty.

 

  1. The Posted Rate IRD Penaltythe Real Pain (Used by CIBC)

Here is a breakdown of CIBC’s posted-rate penalty calculation:

In this variation, the lender calculates your IRD penalty using the five-year posted rate that they were offering when you got your mortgage. Here is a sample of the wording used to explain how the penalty is calculated (taken from CIBC’s website). Underlined, key sections:

The interest rate differential amount is the difference between the Interest on the Prepaid Amount for the remainder of the term at the posted rate at the time you took out the mortgage, and interest on the Prepaid Amount for the Remainder of the Term using a Comparable Posted Rate. Interest is calculated at the interest rate posted by [the lender] for a mortgage product similar to your mortgage product on the date the payout statement is prepared.

Now CIBC’s defence of this tactic is that they substitute posted rates for both your original rate and the rate that most closely matches your remaining term. But as we have already outlined above, this is a terrible trade that no informed person would make because Big-6 lenders must make huge discounts to their five-year posted rates to make them competitive with market five-year fixed rates, and those same discounts shrink dramatically on shorter fixed-rate terms.

If we used the same rates in this example that we used in the discounted-rate method outlined above, the posted-rate method would yield the same sized penalty. But CIBC’s posted rates tend to be higher (which they were at the time this post was written), and for that reason, their penalties earn the moniker of “The Grand Daddy of Them All”.

Here is what that small change to the wording in your contract does to your penalty:

Posted-Rate IRD Calculation

4.79% = 5-year posted rate that was offered when you got your mortgage

2.84% = current rate the most closely matches your remaining term

$250,000 = remaining mortgage balance

24 = months remaining

$9,750 = IRD Penalty charged

 

Long Summary – thanks for getting this far!

Don’t be Surprised. These inflated mortgage penalties generate substantial profits for the lenders who use them and when uninformed borrowers choose to negotiate directly with their lender, is it that hard to imagine that some of those lenders would word the fine print to their advantage.

To be clear, there is not a problem with mortgage penalties in principle. When you break a mortgage contract, your lender incurs costs when they unwind agreements related to your loan (these agreements can relate to hedging, servicing, secularization etc.). The penalty charged is supposed to cover these costs while also recouping part of the lender’s lost profit. Fair enough. That’s why they’re called “closed mortgages”. But is it fair for some lenders to use these early terminations as “gotcha” moments?

There is no way on earth that the average Canadian mortgage borrower has any idea that there are significant differences in the way fixed-rate mortgage penalties are calculated, and the largest Canadian lenders, who have milked that lack of awareness to their advantage for years, have been in no hurry to explain it to them.

Summary: a conscientious and well informed independent mortgage planner should be able to explain how penalties are charged by any lender they are recommending.

Payout Penalties: Nasty tricks of the Big-6 Banks – Example 1

Payout penalties – how the Big-6 banks get you, Example 1

Below is a great example of how the Big-6 banks get you on an early mortgage payout.

“The rate is the rate, but the details are the details!” said Grandma Herman.

Mark Herman

Top Alberta mortgage broker for home purchases and mortgage renewals


As you can see from the example below, the banks “discount rate recapture policy” can result in some pretty hefty added costs —$6,048 in the scenario here!

Example:

On July 31, 2015, you buy your first home and sign a five-year, fixed-term mortgage. As your family grows, you start looking at a bigger home, and after a few months of searching, you find the perfect one—on August 1, 2017.

Because of this unexpected upgrade, you now have to break your mortgage three years before it matures (you have $320,000 left on your mortgage). When you signed your current mortgage, you weren’t concerned about prepayment penalties, but as you can see below, prepayment penalties can have a significant financial impact on your bottom line.

Your situation
Mortgage date July 21, 2015
Date you break your mortgage August 1, 2017
How much you have left owing on your mortgage $320, 000
Your original mortgage term 5 years
How many years left you have on your term 3 years
Comparison
Mortgage breakage fee at the Big-5 banks Mortgage breakage fee with Broker Banks
5-year posted rate when you got your mortgage 5.39% Not applicable for the IRD calculation
Your actual contract rate 4.00% 4.00%
Discount 1.39% N/A
3-year posted rate on August 1, 2013 (the day you break your mortgage) 3.75% 2.99%
IRD formula (Contract rate – [Posted rate for remaining term – Discount from original mortgage]) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term (Contract rate – Posted rate for remaining term) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term
IRD payment $15,744 $9,696
Difference in fees $6,048

For  a free mortgage check-up, or pre-approval, or compare what we can do vs. your bank, call Mark at 403-681-4376

 Remember, when working with us:
• There is no cost to you for our services as the banks pay us for doing their work,
• You get our professional, un-biased advice & expertise on your mortgage,
• We answer our phones and emails, 7 days a week, from 9 – 9, including holidays,
• Your rate is lower with us as we deal through “broker services” at the banks.

The Details: What you need to know about “discount mortgages.”

Grandma always said, “The price is the price, but the details are the details!”

There are discounted and restricted mortgage rates out there but they do not share the details of their disadvantages up front with you.

  1. Restricted or Limited Products / Bait & Switch

People will not even sign a 3 year cell- phone contact any more but they will try to save $15 a month on a restricted mortgage; which could cost them $30,000 as a payout penalty – BUYER BEWARE is what the regulators say.

Brokers often advertise these products to get you to call them and then they switch you into a “regular product” if you are lucky – or you get a “restricted product” that you probably do not want if you know all the details.

Discount mortgages called “limited” or “restricted” and often have:

  • No rate holds
  • Only monthly payments
  • Only 1 statement a year
  • No on-line administration = call centre only
  • Only 5/5 extra repayment option – most broker lenders are 15/15 + 2x or 20/20
    • The 1st number is the % of the original mortgage amount you can repay every year without penalty
    • The 2nd number is the increase in monthly payment in % you can do without penalty.
    • The 2x = double the payment!
  • And they use the bank payout penalty calculations – as below in the Dirty Trick – AND in addition to that penalty, a 3% fee of the entire mortgage balance added to the penalty!
    • This could easily end up at $30,000.

 The other main “Details” that are not often disclosed are:

2.Collateral Charge

To keep you from leaving the bank for a lower rate when you renew later, the banks register your mortgage as a collateral charge – which is the same as an “I owe you” / IOU for the home. Other banks will not take another banks IOU for a mortgage; which means:

  • A lawyer will have to re-register your mortgage at land titles; $1000.
  • An appraisal is needed as the registration is usually for more than the value  of the home; $450

3. The “Dirty Trick” of how the banks calculate your payout penalty

To avoid these products, or to disucss what your personal situation may be, call us any time at 403-681-4376.

Mark Herman, Top Calgary, Alberta, mortgage broker for renewals, first time home buyers and home purchases.

Payout penalties – how the Big-5 banks get you

Below is a great example of how the Big-5 banks get you on a mortgage payout.

Always talk to a broker about your mortgage because Grandma used to say, “the rate is the rate, but the details are the details!”

Mark Herman

Top Alberta mortgage broker for home purchases and mortgage renewals


As you can see from the example below, the banks “discount rate recapture policy” can result in some pretty hefty added costs —$6,048 in the scenario here!

Example:

On July 31, 2011, you buy your first home and sign a five-year, fixed-term mortgage. As your family grows, you start looking at a bigger home, and after a few months of searching, you find the perfect one—on August 1, 2013.

Because of this unexpected upgrade, you now have to break your mortgage three years before it matures (you have $320,000 left on your mortgage). When you signed your current mortgage, you weren’t concerned about prepayment penalties, but as you can see below, prepayment penalties can have a significant financial impact on your bottom line.

Your situation
Mortgage date July 21, 2011
Date you break your mortgage August 1, 2013
How much you have left owing on your mortgage $320, 000
Your original mortgage term 5 years
How many years left you have on your term 3 years
Comparison
Mortgage breakage fee at the Big-5 banks Mortgage breakage fee with Broker Banks
5-year posted rate when you got your mortgage 5.39% Not applicable for the IRD calculation
Your actual contract rate 4.00% 4.00%
Discount 1.39% N/A
3-year posted rate on August 1, 2013 (the day you break your mortgage) 3.75% 2.99%
IRD formula (Contract rate – [Posted rate for remaining term – Discount from original mortgage]) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term (Contract rate – Posted rate for remaining term) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term
IRD payment $15,744 $9,696
Difference in fees $6,048

For  a free mortgage check-up, or pre-approval, or compare what we can do vs. your bank, call Mark at 403-681-4376

Remember, when working with us:
• There is no cost to you for our services as the banks pay us for doing their work,
• You get our professional, un-biased advice & expertise on your mortgage,
• We answer our phones and emails, 7 days a week, from 9 – 9, including holidays,
• Your rate will be lower with us as we deal through “broker services” at the banks.

Bank Payout Penalties: The math behind “how they get you!”

This is a great article with the perfect math example.

Remember, there is also the catch of the collateral charge by the big banks that makes it cost about $2500 to leave your bank when your term is up.

Add these 2 things together and the better overall deals are from mortgage brokers.

Mark Herman, Top Calgary, Alberta Mortgage Broker for renewals and home purchases.

by: Angela Calla, AMP.

When choosing between mortgages, knowing how different lenders calculate penalties can be essential. The market and your needs easily shift during the term of your mortgage and the last thing you want is a painful penalty in order to get out early.

Penalty formulas differ radically, depending on the lender. A major bank, for example, will have a considerably higher penalty than a broker-only wholesale lender. Advice on how to avoid painful penalties is a key benefit of working with a mortgage broker.

You need to ask one important question right off the bat: What rates does the lender use to calculate its penalty? The actual discounted rates that people pay, or some artificially high posted rate? Hopefully the former.

Below is an example of how two lenders calculate the same “interest rate differential” penalty in different ways. Ask yourself, which one would save you the most money?

Penalty #1 – Broker Lender
Contract Rate (The rate you actually pay) 4.19%
Current Rate (Today’s new rate, closest to your remaining term) 3.09%
Differential (Contract Rate – Current Rate) 1.10%
Remaining Balance $229,000
Remaining Months 16
Penalty Formula: Remaining Balance x Differential ÷ 12 x Remaining Months $3,358.67
TOTAL APPROXIMATE PENALTY $3,358.67
Penalty #2 – Major Bank
Contract Rate (The rate you actually pay) 4.19%
Current Posted Rate (Today’s new posted rate, closest to remaining term) 3.39%
Original Posted Rate (At the time you got your mortgage) 5.99%
Original Discount (That you received off the Original Posted Rate) 1.80%
Differential (Contract Rate – (Current Posted Rate – Original Discount)) 2.60%
Remaining Balance $229,000
Remaining Months 16
Penalty Formula: Remaining Balance x Differential ÷ 12 x Remaining Months $7,938.67
TOTAL APPROXIMATE PENALTY $7,938.67

As you can see, there can be quite a difference in prepayment charges when you leave a lender early – over $4,500 in this example. And this is a modest hypothetical calculation. Bank discounts today are on the order of 2.00 percentage points off posted, instead of the 1.80 I’ve used here.

Some lenders will even charge an abnormally high penalty (like 3% of principal) despite you being close to the end of your mortgage term. They do this as a retention tool to keep you from leaving. Others will charge a “reinvestment fee” on top of the penalty, tacking on another $100 to $500 in expenses.

In short, penalties can be thousands—or even tens of thousands—higher depending on the lender’s specific calculation formula, mortgage amount, rates and time remaining until maturity. Extreme penalties are not only more expensive, they can even keep borrowers from moving because the amount eats into the money they’ve got for a down payment and closing costs.

Worse yet, some lenders have a “sale only” clause in their mortgages, meaning you can’t even leave them unless you sell the home. If you think, “Oh, that’s no big deal. I don’t plan on selling,” think again. Throughout every path in life, there are moving parts and uncertainties. When you get married, do you plan on divorcing? Likely not. Did you predict the company you were with for 20 years could downsize, or your pension would be reduced or cut? Can you guarantee your health will never throw you a curve ball?

We all want to believe that none of the above scenarios will come to pass, but they can and do. And when they do, what a relief it is to have options.

And last but not least, there is the refinance consideration. If interest rates fall 0.5-0.8%, (which may seem unlikely but is certainly a possibility) there may be opportunities to lower your borrowing costs. But you can’t do that unless you’ve got a low-cost way to renegotiate your existing contract. And as we’ve seen above, that cost is not based on just your interest rate alone.

Another example: When the rates are the same at the bank and the broker = broker deal is significantly better.

Here is what happens when the Current Posted Rate (Major Banks) = the Current Rate (Broker Lender) at 3.09%

Differential (Contract Rate – (Current Posted Rate – Original Discount)) = 2.90%
==> (4.19% – (3.09% – 1.80%)) = 2.90%
==> (4.19% – 1.29%) = 2.90%

Therefore:

Penalty Formula: Remaining Balance x Differential ÷ 12 x Remaining Months
==> $229,000 x 2.90% / 12 * 16
==> $8854.67

Moral of the story – talk to a broker and understand your penalty calculations.
You can talk to your major bank as well, although I don’t think they can spin the penalty calculation conversation into a favourable one for themselves.

ATB = collateral mortgage registrations too

ATB – Alberta Treasury Branches – is registering their mortgages are collateral mortgages.

Are you sure you want one of these?

  1. Have a look at the previous articles showing why the banks want you to have this, and you do not want it: http://blog.markherman.ca/?s=collateral
  2. And – what if you move out or are transfered out of Alberta? ATB can only lend in Alberta so your mortgage is not PORTABLE to move to any other province – like with most lenders we work with. You will have to pay it out and pay the payout penalty. 🙁

Calgary, Alberta Mortgage Broker, Mark Herman

Payout Penalties and the Bank’s new(er) trick

PAYOUT PENALTIES:

Short Version:

Broker only lenders – the top 3 broker-only lenders are bigger than any of the banks in Canada – do not have POSTED rates like the banks do. They do not then give discounts off of posted to keep you happy. They have 1 rate and that is the rate you get which is usually always lower than the bank rates.

Banks give you the discount off of posted “becuase they love you” now BUT if you ever have to payout your mortgage the banks then “recapture” that discount on the payout penalty. We see many instances when it used to be about $2000 it is now more like $9000! OR more!

This makes a big differance to your final payout and another reason to use a professional, full-time, top mortgage broker for your mortgage. (The rate is the rate, BUT the details make all the differance!)

Long Version:

Many of the banks are using the value of the discount given today as the basis of comparing the remaining term IRD (interest rate differential) payout calculation.  This means if rates  today stay the same as when you got your mortgage before, a client paying off his mortgage (becuase you are moving or we lucky enough to run into a windfall of funds), the bank penalty is now $10,000 MORE than if you were at at a broker lender – as in, a lender that bases IRD on the Best Broker Rate for the exact same IRD calculation.

So, if you are at RBC, TD, CIBC, BMO or Scotia that “discount” you get off the posted rate can really come back to haunt you later!

Another reason to use a professional, full-time, mortgage broker!

Mark Herman, Top Calgary, Alberta mortgage broker, mortgage renewal