CMHC's phone lines might suffer a glut amidst COVID-19 panic

The Crown corporation has called on Canadians to refrain from needlessly clogging up its comms

CMHC's phone lines might suffer a glut amidst COVID-19 panic

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has expressed concern that panic among consumers might lead to its phone lines getting clogged, potentially blocking those who actually need mortgage relief.

“Anybody who needs help should be eligible. If you can tell your bank the reasons why you need help, it’s as simple as that, you will get help,” CMHC CEO Evan Siddall told BNN Bloomberg in an interview.

“What we don’t need right now are people, who are going to be okay, jamming up phone lines to banks because they’re crowding other people that are in true need,” he added.

“We have to implement a program that people can take comfort in. People who should not apply are obviously people who can pay their bills – whether it’s rent, mortgages, their utility bills - to do that because our economy needs your help right now.”

The statements came in the wake of the federal administration pledging approximately $50 billion to “help provide stable funding and liquidity to financial institutions and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers,” the government stated.

According to the Financial Post, this sum will also give the CMHC the ability to insure and buy previously uninsured loans.

The Crown corporation added that it will be assisting landlords during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We actually have to give help to landlords so there’s no compulsion to evict. A number of provinces have enacted eviction prohibitions – it’s going to be hard to evict anybody right now,” Siddall noted.

“But we’re giving support to all the multi-unit insurance clients at CMHC and that’s a huge amount of the marketplace – people who have constructed or bought multi-unit buildings and have tenants, we’re extending the same or similar support to them in return for a no-evictions agreement.”

Siddall assured that CMHC will make the necessary policy adjustments as the situation evolves.

“There is more to come and we have to watch as this unfolds because timelines are tricky to guess,” he said. “We have the best banking system in the world; that’s not my opinion, that’s others’.”