I have spent most of my day on the phone with clients and friends who have been either evacuated from their homes, or have lost their homes to the flames. The wildfire in Fort McMurray has been absolutely devastating to the entire Fort McMurray community, and the entire country stands ready to help.
One regular question is what options are there about your mortgage. It seems that most banks and lenders have allowed mortgage payment deferrals until the crisis is over or even longer. I will attempt to sum up the options and the path to follow depending on your bank/lender.
TD Canada Trust is the first lender we learned about that stepped up to the plate. In addition to the already generous payment deferral program they have in place they are allowing additional deferred payments not only on their mortgages, but also personal loans, lines of credit and more. You can visit any branch or call their 24 hour customer service at 1-844-352-1423.
Scotiabank is the second major bank we learned is offering a relief program to McMurray residents. Scotia is offering flexibility to customers including deferrals on loans, mortgages and credit cards. You can call 1-800-4Scotia to find a branch that can help you, or visit any Scotiabank branch.
First National Financial is offering mortgage payment deferrals one month at a time. You can call 1-866-557-5509 to set it up. If you would like your mortgage number, and you are a Mortgages for Less client, reach out to me at 780-747-1214.
ATB is Alberta’s Credit Uni0n. When given an opportunity to step up to the plate in our province, they usually knock it out of the park. Anecdotally I have heard they have given 4 months of mortgage payment deferral with just a simple phone call to 1-800-332-8383 from 7am to 11pm. Let me know your experience!
Effective immediately, MERIX Financial’s assistance program offers an option of deferring the borrower’s mortgage payment. You will need to call and speak with one of their Mortgage Specialists, and they will work with you to provide a range of customized mortgage solutions for your personal circumstance.
Merix and it’s sister company Lendwise mortgage are offering two months of payment deferral. Call customer service at 1-877-637-4914, choose option 6 for a Fort McMurray specialist, and request the payment deferral. They can look you up without having your mortgage number. They are open extended hours from M-F 6am -6pm MDT, Saturday 8am-4pm and Sundays 10am-4pm.
RMG Mortgages has told us that if we have an RMG Mortgages customer who has been affected by the Fort McMurray, to have them call their customer care centre at 1-866-809-5800. Everyone’s situation is unique but some of the ways they may be able to assist include:
- Deferral of payment
- Re-amortization of the loan to result in lower payments
- Capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses
- Special payment arrangements
- A combination of the above
Their call centre is experiencing high call volumes as they work through these options with their customers, and they appreciate your patience and understanding if wait times are longer than normal.
CIBC will allow deferral or mortgages as well as re-amortization of mortgages to lower payments. Call 1-877-454-9030 to get started.
Care for Your Health during the crisis
AHS Mental Health is present at Lac La Biche, Suncor Firebag Village and St. Paul in the North Zone, Northlands Expo Centre in Edmonton and will soon be at SAIT in Calgary.
Experiencing a disaster such as the Fort McMurray fires can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. If you need to talk, call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or Health Link at 811.
Caring for your Financial Wellbeing
Here are some resources…
1. Someone to talk to
You can call me anytime if you need someone to talk to about any financial matters around this crisis. 780-747-1214
2. Register Yourself at Red Cross
By registering yourself at Redcross.ca or 1-888-350-6070 you will help track progress as well as allow any emergency funding and resources to be sent to you in a timely manner.
3. Government of Canada Employment Insurance
If your employer is unable to continue to support you, emergency income support is available. Click here or call the 24 hr line @ 1-866-644-5135 or 780-644-5135 for folks now in Edmonton
4. Insurance inquiries (Home and Property)
Evacuees should keep all receipts for food purchases, accommodations and other expenses for possible reimbursement.
If you’ve suffered a property loss, contact your insurance provider. You may be entitled to additional living expenses under your insurance policy.
If you cannot recall your insurance provider, contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer information line for assistance at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at FortMacFire@ibc.ca.
5. Income Tax Relief
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be offering tax relief to Fort McMurray area residents. Read Here for more details on what they are offering.
6. Mortgage and Loan Support
And finally I discussed various options above for mortgage payment deferrals. I encourage you to pursue some of these until things start to stabilize.